Gondwana Link Ecological Principles: Health, Resilience, Functionality

What I like about these ecological principles below is the aim to restore ecological processes in harmony with nature. I like the connection of ecological health, resilience and functionality related to cultural and social health and resilience. The project is incremental and aims at renewal of areas damaged and commercial activities allowed which maintain health of habitats. The principles are inclusive of indigenous knowledge.

I believe there have to be holistic approaches which take into account the way the natural system works. It is when humans find the humility to see we live within nature, not as a dominant force, can we learn how to live sustainably. The challenge across the planet is to return to indigenous understanding and ecological principles to ensure balance and a future for all life forms. That is indeed our stewardship.



The essence of Gondwana Link is to achieve, through a series of smaller actions, landscape-scale ecological protection and restoration. Our vision is to restore and maintain connected country across the south western Australian biodiversity hotspot – from the karri to Kalgoorlie. This will be achieved by a series of beneficial activities across an ecological pathway. If these activities are guided by broader principles, then not only will each individual action be valuable in its own right (a good thing) but broader landscape scale conservation benefits should logically flow.

Gondwana Link activities aim to maintain and restore fundamental ecological processes; those processes with which our native biota has evolved and to which it is best adapted. These processes will also ensure that natural values across the Link persist, and that organisms and systems continue to evolve.

In carrying out Gondwana Link activities we recognize that ecological health, resilience and functionality are related to cultural and social health and resilience. Therefore, for the protection and restoration of ecosystems across the link to be lasting, we must not only work at a large scale but work with respect for the cultural and social diversity of the landscape.

A set of principles has been devised to guide Gondwana Link activities. These principles are as follows.

1. Gondwana Link activities must be relevant to the ecological needs of the landscape and be directly linked to measurable and readily demonstrated ecological benefits (outcomes).

2. Gondwana Link activities must significantly reduce the impact (or likely impact) of overwhelming current and future threats to natural systems and to ecological processes. Currently, threats are identified and strategic actions are determined and evaluated by the functional landscape planning process. The planning process is ecologically-based, open and participatory and is informed by the best available scientific and community knowledge.

3. Gondwana Link activities occur across a range of land-uses, tenures and social systems to effect lasting change. Individuals, groups and organizations undertaking activities must do so cooperatively and in a coordinated manner. They must also respect and support the coordination process. One Gondwana Link activity must not compromise another.

4. Gondwana Link activities should aim to restore connectivity and natural resilience to our natural ecosystems. Resilient ecosystems will not need intensive management intervention in the longer term. Connectivity (at all scales and for all organisms) is central to our thinking and our practice. When actions are said to create ecological connectivity; the question “connectivity for what” must be answered and the ecological benefits should be clear and measurable.

5. An activity which results in the loss of native vegetation or habitats (e.g. creek systems, wetlands, estuarine and marine systems) cannot be a Gondwana Link activity. The protection of native vegetation and habitat is always preferable to revegetation. We can not fully “restore” a natural ecosystem. However, ecological restoration on a large scale is essential to the implementation of our vision. Clearing vegetation works directly against the vision and makes the essential job of restoration harder and more expensive.

6. Gondwana Link restoration activities should demonstrate consolidation and/or extend native vegetation across the Link, preferably from bushland remnants, and cannot be replacements for native vegetation cleared elsewhere. Remnants are still in decline and are not capable of supporting all their representative plant and animal species in the medium to long term. Remnants also provide significant resources for restoration and should be the logical focus of restoration works.

7. Individual habitat restoration projects should be designed and undertaken as incremental and opportunistic progressions towards our larger goal. They should be developed to contribute as much as possible to maintaining the ecological processes essential for the retention of functioning landscapes and avoid the creation of ecological sinks or black holes.

8. Gondwana Link activities are those that, where appropriate, combine Indigenous, local and scientific knowledge and which are carried out with respect to the diversity of the environment and cultures across the Link.

9. Commercial enterprises which maintain the health of the landscape and/or do not compromise natural ecological processes can be included as Gondwana Link activities.

10. Ecological restoration that assists in the renewal or persistence of associated indigenous cultural practices may be called a Gondwana Link activity. A landscape may be ecologically degraded such that little of the pre-contact ecosystems persist, but the country may still hold significant cultural value to an Indigenous community. Eco-cultural restoration should also adhere to the principles above but must include but consultation and advice from the traditional owners.

Mohandas Gandhi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”