Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 295–308 | Cite as

Dispossession, degradation and extinction: environmental history in arid Australia

  • Mike Letnic


Among the most popular media images of Australia are the outback heroes: the explorer, pioneer and pastoralist. However, there is insufficient attention paid to the role that pastoralists and their management strategies have played in the dispossession and degradation of arid Australia. A historical overview of ecology and land management suggests that the fragility of Australia's arid ecosystems was identified over 100 years ago, and despite repeated calls for reform, effective regional management schemes are still vehemently opposed by pastoralists. I argue that, until the role played by pastoralists and their management strategies in the degradation of arid Australia has been adequately communicated, pastoralists will remain a powerful political lobby capable of thwarting the implementation of sustainable land management practises.

aridity Australia biodiversity management ecology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Letnic
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeographyUniversity of New South WalesAustralia

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