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Community First: Landcare in Australia

Andrew Campbell

Report/paper, 20 pages

In Australia, a grass-roots revolution called ‘landcare’ has turned land conservation extension on its head. Close to two thousand voluntary community landcare groups are working to develop more sustainable systems of land use, supported by a national ten year funding programme. This paper introduces landcare in Australia as a community-based approach to the development of more sustainable ways of using the land. It is not easy to define landcare or even to draw its boundaries. Landcare is not really an extension programme at all in the sense of a system of planned interventions with discrete objectives. Rather, landcare blends elements of community and environmental education, action research and participatory planning to tackle a range of environmental and production issues in a tremendous diversity of bio-physical and administrative environments. Policy makers are reacting to on-ground developments, rather than precipitating action in a strategic way.

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