“Truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it.
Let it loose, it will defend itself!”
30 years ago, we began actively exploring how to revitalise a dying landscape. The primary incentive at the time was to justify being able to live on Kachana as a family. We learned that more was at stake.
In the face of desertification, realising that resulting politics of ‘land hunger’ would make life too challenging, as a young man I had turned my back on farming in Africa. – Might the context of a population vacuum on land that had a reliable amount of annual rainfall make it easier to deal with desertification? – At the time we thought: Yes.
What by 1997 had already been a steep learning-curve, suddenly began to accelerate. Even today we intuit that we have merely scratched the surface of what might be possible. - It depends less on when and how much rain we get, but more on how much water we can hold onto and how we manage that!
The challenge is not unique. Stabilising micro-climates by working within the constraints of nature’s dynamic processes can literally “kick-start” wealth-building at landscape levels. – Much of what we witnessed in our region and beyond was in fact trending in the opposite direction.
Unbeknown to us, at the same time that we were exploring low-tech high-skill options for Kachana, an Australian farmer was exploring low-tech options in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. He was working in areas where people could not afford the sort of learning-curves that had confronted us.
For a most welcome good news story out of Africa we encourage people to look closer at the work of Tony Rinaudo.
First, please let me add a little context. Some years ago, I shared Roy Beck’s short colourful presentation of data to explain global population dynamics, migration and aid-response.
To pick up on Roy Beck’s punchline, Tony Rinaudo’s Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is literally “helping people where they are”.
Please consider supporting the vitally important work of Tony Rinaudo. (Of course, in addition to social aspects, Africa is key to stabilising global climate! – More on that perhaps some other time.)
"THE FOREST UNDERGROUND: HOPE FOR A PLANET IN CRISIS" BY TONY RINAUDO
Tony Rinaudo’s book can be ordered by clicking here.
In a world seemingly gone mad under the influence of lust for power and money, it is the inspiring and relentless persistence in the face of all odds, that offers hope. Living exposed to the elements, as we do, each season we get to experience diverse indications of how powerful Nature can be. Tony Rinaudo’s work supports our observation that as we learn to “trim the sails” in tune with how nature works, she has the forces (prepared and ready) to move us along in a direction of health and abundance.
It is apparent that farmers world-wide are one of those latent forces. Not dissimilar to the large herbivores on parts of Kachana, they require the motivation to behave in a regenerating manner, thus changing them into a part of a solution.
On that note of optimism and regeneration, we wish you and all your loved ones the blessings that come with the message of Easter.
Greetings from Kachana.
Photos of the Month
News & Views
Update on Kachana’s wild (not feral) donkey population
Please note: The primary incentive for Kachana Pastoral Company PL (KPC) to explore a continued use of modified donkey behaviour is to ultimately provide sound custodianship in portions of the lease that cannot be feasibly managed with conventional industry practices. There is however mounting evidence internationally that methodologies being tested are of broader relevance and that we all have more to learn.
Since 2018 the Wild Donkey Project on Kachana remains more or less on hold as we negotiate with Government Departments. On the ground, a small remnant-population of managed wild donkeys remains within the “no shoot area” (agreed upon with the donkey-shooters in 2002). Feral and straying animals found beyond this area continue to be shot. (Over the years this monitoring & shooting was conducted by the donkey shooters; late 2018 Kachana Pastoral Company PL (KPC) began taking on this task.)
It is fair to say that negotiations over the last four years have been frustrating for all parties involved. However, much patience and good advice is being offered to us as we do our part to substantiate the caveats that incentivise us to seek a collaborative solution.
- The potential extinction of locally adapted wild donkeys would not only impact the local ecology, but also gives rise to broader ethical, biodiversity and ‘CO2-emmissions’ considerations.
- If there is substance to the Kachana Pastoral Company observation that the net removal of herbivores off the landscape in recent decades directly contributes to landscape dehydration, then this is of critical economic import to downstream communities, Local, State and Federal Government.
Where are we at and what do we wish to achieve?
- We wish to work with our departments to aim at achieving optimal outcomes in the landscape.
- Methodologies put to use must not conflict with existing regulation (On the ground this has taken place since 2002.)
- Kachana Pastoral Company PL had failed to note the implications of changes within the legislation during this time period – We therefore recognise the need to formalise certain methodologies in use
- Whilst management of donkeys remains in place, KPC seeks guidance in formulating an action-plan that legitimises innovative practices that now have more than a twenty-year history
- Funding for research is available and key people have been advised of such
- The general understanding of the functional roles that large herbivores can play in a landscape remains very basic.
- Resolving current departmental concerns will put us in a position where we are able to attract critical third-party research, analysis and evaluation of the results achieved on Kachana over the past thirty years.
- Kachana Pastoral Company PL advocates:
- The primary focus on improved ecological outcomes
- A recognition of what all is at stake here and according monitoring
- Collaboration with open communication and a rebuilding of trust
- Fact-based and informed discussion
- Establishing and putting in place reasonable and necessary measures to minimise any risks that may already exist and that enable appropriate responses to any risks that may not yet be apparent
- Transparent processes that align with the intent of existing legislation and that attract regulatory approval, enabling relevant research and evaluation
In summary, from what we have experienced over these last thirty years, we remain convinced that Australia’s New Megafauna can assist other New Australians (humans, animals, plants and microorganisms) in rebuilding levels of productivity that match what nature had put here before the first humans arrived on these shores.
- Relevant link: How to Heal Country?
- Further food for thought on the ecological aspects: kachana pastoral company uncensored
- Donkeys played a significant role in paving the way for the Australia we have today. This little book takes a closer look: The
Australian Teamster Donkey by Chase Day
- Fresh, funny and highly original, 'Tangki Tjuta – Donkeys' is an endearing dual language story about how donkeys came to be a rich part of life for one Aboriginal community.