Reducing Impact

We are the stewards of our fragile home, but unfortunately we are also its biggest threat.

In preparing this website, we put our heads together and talked about what we thought would be the best and worst things we could do or have done on our properties.

Not surprisingly, they were all different. Our lifestyle needs are as individual as the ecosystems present on our individual properties – we were each thinking of the specific values and threats present on our properties and weighing that up with lifestyle needs.

We all agreed we could minimise our ecological footprints, and even have a positive impact, but there was no hard and fast rule to it. But we had more than half a century of collective experience in the room how could we transfer that knowledge to a new resident?

Assessing the threats we pose to conservation values of our home.

A common tool used in conservation land management is to decide on our values, what you are trying to protect, and assess the threats to those values.

So we came up with a list of common values, and broke down the threat of rural residential development into bite-sized pieces. We used The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Action Planning method as a guide, cutting some pretty big corners due to time and money pressures, and came up with a threat assessment.

While we recognize it is far from perfect, we thought it would help you as a newcomer understand the variables and assess your own situation.

For example, if you’re your block is elevated, was cleared before you bought it and has a fast flowing creek, you may have plenty of options in terms of renewable power (hydro or solar), water supply (creek, rain or bore) and toilets (composting, treatment plant or septic).

You may find however, that your driveway washes out over the wet season, turning your creek brown and forcing you to upgrade your vehicle, or park on the road and walk in. You may also find the cleared parts of your property are full of weeds, and the creek banks are eroded, pig-rooted and weed infested. The rainforest in the wet season is often described as ‘bejeweled’, but it won’t seem that way to you.

If your block is largely un-cleared however, you will find the rainforest takes care of itself and your wet season is spent meditating it beauty. You will have to carefully consider your development needs and make small adjustments to your lifestyle though to avoid unnecessary land clearing.

No matter your block, your lifestyle and budget will be very different to a household anywhere else in Australia. Use the threat table and information provided in this website as a guide to assess what are the best things you can do on your property, and what you should avoid doing.

If you are new to the tropics, there are also tips to help you with some of the unique challenges of your new environment.