Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

For any queries about LIFE – Landcare is for everyone – please read our Frequently Asked Questions

What is L.I.F.E?

Planet earth is struggling to maintain the balance of L.I.F.E for all of the species that call it home. Here in Australia our fragile landscape is under constant pressure from an ever-growing and consuming, modern way of life. Landcarers everywhere are working together to maintain the health of their local environments, but the time has come for everyone to help maintain the balance of LIFE by becoming involved and thinking about their actions each and every day and what impact they have.

L.I.F.E is about people across Australia, just like you, getting involved in Landcare in their everyday lives. Whether you live in a city or a one pub town, on the beach or on a station, in the Top End or the Island State, this website is designed to give you ideas on what you can do or how you can join others in caring for the land and our environment, because after all, the land is the reason we exist and the reason we continue to survive.

How can I get involved with L.I.F.E?

Caring for our land is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you live in the city in a high rise flat or on a sprawling farm with land all around you, there are many ways to get involved.

  • Check out your local council website and see what environmental or sustainability events and workshops you can attend. You can even be involved in Landcare in your own backyard!
  • Is there a Landcare, Bushcare, Coastcare or other environmental community group in your local area? Why not get in touch with them and see if you can lend a hand?
  • It’s not all about weeding and planting you know. Volunteer groups need all types of help - can you write, publish and distribute a newsletter? Maybe you can update a website or help out with accounts? Whatever you can do, there’s a way you can help.
  • Are you a farmer seeing erosion and land degradation on your property? L.I.F.E is just what you need. Contact your local Catchment Management Authority or Natural Resource Management organisation today, or maybe there’s already a Landcare farming group in your area who can help.
  • Maybe you love surfing and swimming but hate seeing your beach covered in other people’s litter? Get together with some likeminded people and set up a Coastcare group today.

Together, we can make a difference.

Check out the Get Involved section of this website to read more about some of the many ways you can make a difference.

What is Landcare?

Landcare is a community based volunteer movement made up of individuals and groups who work on managing environmental issues in their local areas.

The groups that fall under the Landcare umbrella are varied in nature and don’t necessarily include Landcare in their names. They include productive farming groups, ‘Friends of’, Bushcare, Coastcare, Rivercare, Dunecare and Junior Landcare groups, among others. Landcare also include farmers embracing sustainable farm management, Indigenous traditional land managers sharing their knowledge with the wider community and any community group that partakes in volunteer environmental activities.

What do Landcare groups do?

Landcare volunteers don’t just plant trees. From the coast to urban and remote landscapes around Australia a huge variety of projects require ongoing care. Volunteers work all year round to tackle environmental issues at a grass-roots level.

Local Landcare sites involve a wide range of activities such as managing invasive weeds in local areas which can lead to the destruction of native plant and animal habitats. These habitats can be regenerated through weed management and the planting of indigenous plant species, encouraging native wildlife to return to an area that may have lost its native biodiversity.

Vegetation removal from around rivers or other waterways leads to the destabilisation of river banks, gullies and creeks and also results in a larger flow of water, which causes erosion. Water run-off from farms and urban areas may also contain pollutants, nutrients and sediments which are washed into the waterways if riparian vegetation is absent to act as a natural filter. Landcare groups often work to protect and enhance riparian vegetation to improve water quality, stabilise banks and restrict waterways from expanding and eroding the surrounding land.

Many groups are involved in building wildlife corridors, or biolinks, which improve the connectivity of remnant vegetation, allowing Australian wildlife to travel for food and genetic diversity. This enhances and rebuilds habitats which have been threatened or in some cases destroyed by development, clearing or land degradation.

Other activities include: repairing urban creeks and bush land, managing pest animals, litter removal, planting native trees, shrubs and grasses, revegetating land affected by salinity and erosion, monitoring water quality in our rivers and streams, wildlife rescue, rehabilitating wetlands, assisting land owners to adapt to climate change with long term planning for their farms and properties, sharing Indigenous land management knowledge, rehabilitating overgrazed pastures, responding to the environmental impact of natural disasters, educating our community, including children, about conservation of their landscape, collecting native seeds for propagation, wildlife surveys and monitoring, holding community events and workshops and many other natural resource management activities.

The five most common activities undertaken by groups nationally are:

  1. Planting and weed management
  2. Education/community awareness program
  3. Sustainable agriculture activities
  4. Seed collection and propagation
  5. Erosion control

What is Landcare Australia?

Landcare Australia Limited is a non-political, uniquely Australian partnership between the community, government and business to protect and repair Australia’s magnificent, yet stressed, natural resources.

Landcare Australia is the official not-for-profit organisation directly responsible for the promotion and marketing of the Landcare, Coastcare and Junior Landcare volunteer network and carefully manages all associated brands and trademarks.

A primary focus is to raise awareness of Landcare through promotional activities and national campaigns including Landcare Week and the Landcare Awards.

Over the last 20 years Landcare Australia has developed a niche for brokering partnerships that balance the needs and concerns of corporate, government and community stakeholders to deliver meaningful environmental and agricultural projects. In this time of ever increasing competition for corporate sponsorship, Landcare Australia understands the need to engage corporates at many levels and has the capacity to develop partnerships that range from highly strategic national campaigns to more localised on-ground Landcare projects.

Landcare Australia also secures funds from the broader Landcare community by encouraging Landcare supporters to donate a portion of their estate to the Landcare movement as a bequest.

Through this broad spectrum of community engagement, Landcare Australia is able to distribute millions of dollars worth of funding and in-kind support to the Landcare community and farmers each year.

Landcare Australia’s ongoing objective is to expand promotional and financial support of the Landcare, Junior Landcare and Coastcare movement so that it can continue to support community driven natural resource management across Australia.

What is Junior Landcare?

Junior Landcare is an initiative of Landcare Australia designed to encourage young people to learn about sustainability and play an active role in ensuring the safe future of their environment.

Launched in May 1998, Junior Landcare recognises that the contribution of young people is vital if the land they are to inherit is to be in the best possible condition for them and future generations.

Through the Junior Landcare program, Landcare Australia facilitates a number of corporate-funded programs for schools and youth groups across Australia to enable them to implement environmental projects in their schools or local communities and to connect with their local Landcare groups.

Landcare activities can also be successfully integrated into the school curriculum and provide a great framework for learning in outdoor ‘living classrooms’. Junior Landcare enables kids to become involved with the Landcare community at a young age through hands on involvement working on local environment projects.

For further information on Junior Landcare, please visit our website.

What is Coastcare?

Established by the Australian Government in 1995, Coastcare is a community of volunteers who work to care for and protect the Australian coastline. Coastcare groups are established when a group of local people identify a problem in their local coastal environment and work towards a practical solution. The work done by these groups of dedicated volunteers is invaluable to the restoration and protection of the fragile coastline of our country.

In the early 1990s, the Australian Government’s Resource Assessment Commission undertook an inquiry into the management and use of the resources of Australia’s coastal zone. The inquiry was the most comprehensive investigation ever undertaken into the coastal zone. One of the recommendations of the Resource Assessment Commission was that a national coastal action program should be established that involved all governments, community and industry groups with responsibility for and interests in the management of coastal zone resources.

The initial Coastcare program was established by the Australian Government in 1995. In 1997 the Coastcare program was rolled into the Australian Governments’ Natural Heritage Trust Clean Sea Program.

While there were community groups undertaking environmental works along the coast before this, the term Coastcare and Coastcare groups started around the mid 1990s. Coastcare is, in many ways, an extension of the Landcare movement focusing on the coast.

Coastcare groups work on a variety of projects including cleaning up beaches and underwater environments, managing dune erosion, restoring native plants and animal habitat; removing and control invasive weeds, monitoring water quality of waterways and reefs, revegetating mangrove areas and coastal mudflats, rehabilitating wetlands, marine life rescue, using Indigenous knowledge to manage coastlines, monitoring changes to marine species and their environments, responding to the environmental impact of natural disasters, mitigating against storm water pollution, controlling human access to sensitive areas, educating our community, including children, about conservation of their coastal landscape, and many other natural resource management activities.

For further information on Coastcare, please visit our website.

Why did Landcare begin?

Landcare was launched in central Victoria in 1985 by the then Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands, Joan Kirner, and then President of the Victorian Farmers Federation, Heather Mitchell, however it became a national movement in 1989.

Rick Farley of the National Farmers Federation and Phillip Toyne of the Australian Conservation Foundation successfully lobbied the Hawke Labor Government to commit itself to the emerging movement. In July 1989, the Australian Government, with bipartisan support, announced its ‘Decade of Landcare Plan’ and committed $320 million to fund the National Landcare Program.

Initially aimed at improving agricultural productivity through sustainable land management, Landcare has since evolved to encompass a broader focus on the sustainable management of all of Australia’s natural resources and now includes projects across the whole country from coastal to urban and remote areas of Australia.

How are farmers involved in Landcare?

Landcare farmers realise the importance of caring for the land to ensure that it can continue to sustain us and future generations. Their actions not only make individual farms more sustainable, but increase the resilience of our agricultural environment and the future of our food supplies.

Farmers undertake widespread environmental protection and restoration works on their own properties, as well as often working in partnership with their neighbours to implement projects that will result in widespread sustainability benefits across the local area.

An increased level of sustainability in farming operations can result in increased levels of productivity as well as a reduction in water, energy and fertiliser use. For this reason, farmers often work together to conduct research into improving farm practices with a view to increasing the sustainability of their operations.

Large scale revegetation works on farming properties can reduce erosion, increase biodiversity and provide shade and windbreaks for livestock. Other practices such as no-till farming and increasing ground cover can also result in significant environmental benefits such as reduced erosion and better water quality in creeks and rivers.

How can I practice Landcare in my everyday life?

You can engage with the Landcare ethos in your very own backyard simply by being aware of how you tend your garden and what effect this can have on surrounding environments.

Weeds are one of the most significant issues in the Australian environment and some of the worst weeds in bush-land have been garden escapees. Weeds invade our natural eco-systems, threaten our unique native plants and animals and have a severe impact on land productivity and farming. Landcare Australia is urging all Australians to become more aware of weeds and how best to tackle them in your own garden and local area.

The following is some advice as to how you can bring Landcare into your backyard.

  • Choose garden plants carefully or they can become weeds.
  • Increase the biodiversity in your area by turning your own backyard into a native wildlife refuge. Plant native trees, shrubs and grasses; build a frog pond; place nest boxes on trees for birds and bats; and leave rocks and logs in your garden to attract lizards, beetles and other insects.
  • Take care when you dispose of garden waste that you’re not causing a new weed problem – don’t dump garden waste over a fence or into bush-land.
  • To destroy weeds in the early stages of seeding or growing, place them in a black plastic bag, seal it and place the bag in the sun until it is destroyed. Contact your local Landcare group about other methods of destroying weeds.
  • Take out the seed heads from weeds before they mature.
  • Beware that weeds can cause illness and allergy among humans – some can be toxic and even fatal for humans and animals.
  • Report weed infestations, even if it is in a nearby bush-land reserve, to your local council.
  • Look after local biodiversity by keeping your cats and dogs indoors at night and putting a bell on your cat to warn native birds.

Think about the food you eat

The first step in supporting Australian agriculture is to understand and appreciate what it takes to make the products we eat, drink, use and wear each day. So often we eat a meal without really thinking about the resources it took to make the ingredients or the people involved along the chain of production.

  • You can start your appreciation of Australian agriculture by growing some of your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Maybe you could even keep a few chickens for your own eggs?  Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still grow herbs in a pot on a balcony or window sill.
  • Next time you go shopping think about where the produce comes from and how it was made and processed.
  • Try to buy produce grown and processed here in Australia. Maybe you could even try to buy produce grown and processed in your own state – or maybe even in your own local area?
  • If you have access to a farmers market, go and talk to the farmers and ask them about the products you are buying. They will be able to give you some great insight into the different produce and probably some great recipes too.

How can I keep up to date with Landcare and L.I.F.E news?

If you are interested in learning more about Landcare Australia and keeping up to date with news from the Landcare community you can sign up to our E-newsletters, like us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

How can I contact L.I.F.E?

Please take the time to read our Frequently Asked Questions. If these do not answer your question, please feel free to contact us using our contact form, or by one of the methods below.

Landcare Australia Limited

Postal address:

PO Box 5666

West Chatswood NSW 1515

Physical address:

Level 1, 6 Help Street

Chatswood NSW 2067

Phone: 1800 151 105

Fax: 02 9412 1060

Email: enquiries@landcareaustralia.com.au