This paper aims at evaluating the community partnerships between Greening Australia and its various partners that the organization works with to fulfill their mandate. Greening Australia is a conservation and restoration project which was started in the year 1982 and has since grown to become an organization. Greening Australia works with various communities and entrepreneurs in accomplishing its objective of environmental conservation and wildlife protection. The organizations carry out various activities across Australia to help it achieve its mandate of conserving the environment across the country. Presently, Greening Australia has over 30 teams of volunteers and staff in different locations across the countries(Lachman, Wong& Resetar, 2017). The projects are undertaken with utmost professionalism and latest science is applied to help achieve the best for the landscape, the people and the wildlife. The vision of Greening Australia is to achieve healthy and productive landscapes where the people and nature thrive. Greening Australia aims at achieving its strategic plan of “Conservation without borders” through a commitment to conserving the environment through partnerships. This paper will evaluate and discuss at large the community partnerships in Greening Australia Habitat 141 project. The project is large scale in nature and it involves many community partnerships and volunteers. This project has lasted for fifty years and it involves restoring and reconnecting the iconic landscape along the 141ST longitude. This biodiversity zone stretches from the wild coast of Southern Australia, along the Victorian border all the way to New South Wales range-lands (Mcneely &Scherr,2013).
The landscape of Habitat 141 has suffered great loss and degradation of natural habitats for many years. This has resulted in the loss of biodiversity even though there remain some conservation efforts in small scale. The Habitat 141 is a long term project which aims at facilitating fragmentation of natural habitats and helping to minimize the effects of climate change. The project invests in important landscapes in order to ensure that future generations enjoy a good environment.
The project has been made successful over the many years mainly because of community partnerships. Communities living in this area have been greatly engaged by Greening Australia to help support the project for the future benefit of the community. The community has collaborated with greening Australia and allowed professionals to work on their private land to restore the landscape.
The Habitat 141 is very large in scope and it incorporates various programs under it so as to make it easier to carry out the mandate of the project. Some of this programs include; Alcoa 1 million trees, the Handbury Fund, Nurcoung Malleefowl corridor project, Billiat to Big Desert Biolink and the Alcoa carbon sinks program (Ros-tonen, Hombergh & Zoomers, 2007). The project is being implemented in phases and therefore, Greening Australia is able to evaluate the progress and the achievements resulting from the projects. The Habitat 141 project involves a large number volunteers and staff. The project also involves business partners and donors who help in the financial aspect of the project.
The communities involved in this project are those in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The Mosquito Creek Catchment is one of the conservation programs that Greening Australia identified as being in urgent need of rehabilitation. The communities in this region are involved in the project. Greening Australia has encouraged the communities to volunteer to help plant trees to help in this project. The communities in this region also donate trees. They are also involved in cleaning the rivers and streams around Mosquito Creek. Greening Australia has also partnered with South East Natural Management group to help in the conservation efforts. The communities around the Arapiles State Park and the Little Desert National Park have also been largely involved in the conservation activities in the park. Balliett and Murray communities in South Australia have partnered with Greening Australia to conserve Flora and Fauna in this locality (Mcspirit, Faltraco& Bailey, 2012). Victoria communities have also been a major partner for Greening Australia in undertaking this project.
A partnership approach is very important for Greening Australia to meet Habitat 141 project goals due to various reasons. The first and most important reason is that land being rehabilitated and conserved belongs to either individuals or the community in general. This, therefore, means that the project cannot be undertaken without the consent and cooperation of the community. The partnership approach is crucial for this project also because Greening Australia relies a lot on volunteers to undertake most of the projects (M. Robinson & Liu, 2015). Since the volunteers come from the community directly benefiting from the program, it is important to engage the community so that people understand the importance of the project and support it. Partnerships are also important in this project since the communities can contribute immensely to the project by donating cash and other resources to facilitate the project (Duim, lamers&Wijk, 2014).
The partnerships between Greening Australia and its various community partners have been highly successful. This section evaluates the nature of the partnerships and uses the framework of successful partnerships to analyze how successful or unsuccessful these partners have been. This section also involves the review of stakeholder’s behavior, attitudes and leadership.
The partnership between Greening Australia and the communities around Wimmera Catchment and Victoria has helped the organization achieve tremendous success in this project. The communities in this region were sensitized on the importance of the project and they were encouraged to get actively involved in the project by registering with Greening Australia. In this project, more than 700 volunteers from this region joined in implementing the project of planting 1 million trees (Egan, Hjerpe &Abrams, 2011). Community groups such as the Wimmera conservation group provided important guidelines and information on the landscape of the area since they are familiar with the region. Greening Australia ensures that all the partnerships work according to the Conservation Action plan. The community members were mostly involved in planting trees in three distinct habitats which are Manna Gum Woodland, Healthy Woodland and Swamp scrub. The community members were also involved in enhancing in stream and stream side habitats by clearing the excess vegetation so as to widen the corridors. Greening Australia has been working with Rainbow Landscape Group to promote local ownership of the project. The project also partners with Alcoa to help in fencing and restoring vegetation in the mosquito creek catchment.
Greening Australia has partnered with Hand bury Foundation to help in planning, supporting and coordinating community engagement (Mcspirit, Faltraco & Bailey, 2012). The partnership is meant to help create awareness for an audacious and long term vision of the organization. The partnerships help has been very successful in helping educate communities on the importance of environmental conservation and mobilizing people to donate to Greening Australia. This partnership has been characterized by timely meetings to chat the way forward and to evaluate the success of the partnership. Through this partnership, Greening Australia has been able to invest a significant amount of resources in building capacity and collaborations as well as processes to support the Conservation Action Planning process. Another major achievement of this partnership is that it has helped to create a good relationship between the land owners to the extent that they are ready to donate their land for the course of the project. The partnership has also helped in building a framework for communication between the Greening Australia and the community as well as other stakeholders in the project. An example is the creation of Habitat 141 degrees and the communication plan for Habitat 141.(Scott & Bromley, 2013) This partnership has helped to recruit more than 1400 volunteers for the project in the last year alone. The partnership has also helped in the conservation efforts of Greening Australia by bringing on board other partners such as Zone CAPs which helps in scientific expertise.
The partnership between the Habitat 141 project and the community around Murray Malle in South Australia has also been very significant for Greening Australia. The partnership is aimed at supporting and protecting endangered species of birds such as the Malleefowl, Mallee Emu-wren, Red-lored Whistler and Western Whipbird. In order to achieve this objective, the community is greatly involved in the effort to conserve these birds. Habitat 141 has launched a community education program to sensitize the community on the importance of preserving this endangered species. Hunting of birds is popular in this region. Community groups are being trained on how to help in preservation and protection of these birds. This partnership has also helped in re-vegetation of more than 35 hectares of land between the year 2012 and 2014.(Guerrant, Havens & Maunder, 2014) The partnership has also benefited the community directly through various ways. The farmers living around the project site have been able to receive support in stabilizing light sandy soils and generation of carbon credits so as to help improve the incomes of farmers. This, therefore, means that the partnership has been able to achieve its objectives.
Habitat 141 has a partnership with various communities around Arapiles State Park and the Little Desert National Park. The partnership is facilitated by other partners such as Parks Australia, Trust for Nature and Victoria Mallee Fowl Recovery Group. These groups work in collaboration with the land owners in this zone. The partnership with the community helped Greening Australia to obtain 180 hectares of land which are used to implement high-quality biodiversity restoration to help generate carbon credits(Meffe,2012). The program has been completed successful thanks to the partnerships and collaboration from the community. It has become the largest biodiversity program involving re-vegetation implemented in Victoria. The partnership with the community was very successful with the donations from the community around Victoria exceeding $300,000. The willingness of community members to sell land for the project was also crucial in making the project successful.
The Alcoa re vegetation program has helped to establish plantation that is bio-diverse using various methods such as direct seeding. The native plantings have helped in acting as carbon sinks and increasing soil carbon stores. The aim of this partnership with the community was to encourage people to plant in their land native plants so that they can act as carbon sinks and hence improving the quality of air in this zone. The carbon storage potential is recorded using the Reforestation Modeling Tool(RMT). It helps to provide the carbon sequestration potential of a particular area. From the measurement taken by Greenhouse Australia, it is evident that the program has helped to increase the carbon sequestration potential by a very great margin. This partnership has also enabled farmers to generate ACCUs(Australian Carbon Credit Units) and sell these units to other farmers willing to offset their carbon pollution through the voluntary market.
The Habitat 141 project has been in progress for more than 50 years. The project is implemented in phases to ensure that the objectives are achieved with ease. The project is long term in nature due to its wide scope. The Habitat 141 project is planned in such a manner that its impact is sustainable for a long period of time even after completion of the project. Greening Australia has put various measures to ensure that the projects benefit last for centuries. The management of the project has encouraged the community to own the projects being undertaken in their locality. I think the sense of ownership can be affected through involving the members of the community in decision making. This is very important since the project is concerned with environmental conservation and restoration of landscapes. Once the community feels the project is meant to help them, they can offer support and help to protect the environment and safeguard the gains that have been achieved even when the project comes to an end.
The Habitat 141 project also has partnerships with other organizations to ensure that the projects completed are monitored and maintained. One of these organizations is Alcoa which helps in measuring the achievements of the projects and in monitoring whether or not the project is sustainable. Alcoa reports to Greening Australia on the state of the programs after which Greening Australia can take action. The management team of the Habitat141 project has special maintenance teams which are sent to correct any loopholes that may have infiltrated the project. In addition to this, Greening Australia hands over most of the projects to the government and other stakeholders who are able to ensure long term success for the project. Generally, the long term success of this project has been mainly due to partnerships and collaborations with other organizations, the government and the community.
Another method that Greening Australia uses to ensure long term success for projects is by working closely with conservation groups. This may be NGOs or those supported by the government. These groups can help to continue implementing the long term agenda of the project long after the project has been completed. For example, the preserved species of endangered species can be given refuge in animal orphanages and parks. The forest management bodies can be engaged to help protect the new vegetation and trees from traders or other people who may pose a danger to the project. I also think that the restored landscapes can be protected by training and educating the communities and land owners of how they can be able to prevent land degradation and soil erosion (Decker, Riley, & Siemer, 2012). This will help the land owners and the community, in general, will take control of their environment and ensure that the projects` benefits last for a long time.
I would also consider training farmers on how to raise carbon sequestration in their localities and how they can collect the units and sell them to other willing to improve carbon sequestration in their areas. Once the farmers realize an economic benefit in this project, they will automatically be encouraged to plant more trees. This in return will result in long term sustainability of the project and hence the community will benefit for many years to come.
Funding is also crucial to help Greening Australia maintain and manage its projects for a long period of time. I would seek to increase funding for the projects and lobby for donations for each project separately. Increased funding can be achieved through seeking additional corporate partnerships and sponsorship. I would also be more aggressive in seeking donations from individuals and organization to help finance maintenance of the project for a long period of time.
The Habitat 141 project by Greening Australia has been able to achieve great success and most of the objectives of the project have already been accomplished. The project has been able to rehabilitate landscapes and to restore vegetation in areas such as Victoria and South Australia. The project success has been pinned around the partnerships that Greening Australia has been able to establish with communities and corporate organization (Burchett & Burchett, 2013). The project has been supported by community members by donating funds for the project as well as donating land crucial for implementing the project. There has been a lot of support for the project from the community as many people were willing to volunteer to work on the project. The long term success of the project can be achieved by encouraging community ownership of the project and by training the local communities on the benefits of the project.
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