About the Fitzgerald Biosphere Group

Fitzgerlad Biosphere Group

The Fitzgerald Biosphere Group (FBG) is a non-profit community organisation that works with farmers, researchers, industry groups and federal and state agencies to address local production (e.g. diseases, pests and nutrient limitations) and natural resource management issues (e.g. salinity and soil acidification) to ensure the long-term sustainability of the agricultural industry and the communities within the region. The FBG boasts an active membership, an energetic Management Committee and a team of dedicated staff.

The FBG operates within the Shire of Jerramungup, which is located on the south coast of Western Australia on the western side of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve. The FBG have an office located in the township of Jerramungup, which is approximately 450 kilometres south east of Perth, Western Australia.

AIMS

  1. To identifyand service the needs of our members and the wider Fitzgerald Biosphere community.
  2. To develop, demonstrate, promote and support the adoptionof sustainable farming systems in the Fitzgerald Biosphere region through collaborative partnerships
  3. To become financially self sufficient
  4. To develop, maintain and enhance our relationships with agencies, other community groups and private industry.

AREA OF OPERATION

Jerramungup is situated in the western section of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve and covers an area of 654 000 hectares, of which 263 000 hectares is conservation estate and crown land. The variation in climate, soil types, land capabilities and other environmental factors from north to south and east to west is very high, consequently there is wide range of farming systems in operation throughout the area. The main broad-acre agricultural products from the region are wheat, barley, canola, sheep for wool and meat production and beef cattle.

MEMBERSHIP

The FBG launched into their membership campaign in 2005 and have strong local support through the membership which incorporates growers, associates (agronomists, consultants etc.) and students. This local membership provides significant opportunities for sponsor organisation exposure. The FBG are non-exclusive, so while the group does provide numerous opportunities and benefits to its members, they consistently promote the group and its partners and engage the wider community.

Left to right: Members of the Fitzgerald River Catchment Group – winners of the WA Sensis Landcare Catchment Award
2003; detailed planning at an FBG general meeting; CDI Management Committee meeting.

WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL

The FBG operates in the western section of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve which is locally, nationally and internationally recognised for its high biodiversity values. The FBG are working with the community to capitalise on the opportunities that this presents.

Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Biosphere reserves serve in some ways as 'living laboratories' for researching and demonstrating the integrated management of land, water and biodiversity in recognition of human interaction and community and economic development.

The Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve (listed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1978 under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program) contains an undisturbed core enclosed by the Fitzgerald River National Park surrounded by additional areas of significant remnant vegetation. Beyond this buffer is the ‘zone of cooperation', within which the regions agricultural
production takes place.

The Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve is referred to as "the most important Mediterranean ecosystem reserve in the world" (Dr Bernd von Drost, 1989) not only for its rich biodiversity, but for the way the community interacts with the environment and how they are all working to ensure long term sustainability.

GROUP HISTORY

The FBG formed in early 2002 due to the rationalisation and resulting amalgamation of three long running and very successful local groups:

  • JERAC (Jerramungup Extension and Research Advisory Committee),
  • Jerramungup Landcare Services, and
  • Jerramungup Land Conservation District Committee.

The group has brought production and NRM together into a single pathway forward. They have consolidated their progress through a combination of strong strategic skills and effective community action.

The FBG and its 'parent' organisations have been recognised on a number of fronts for their successes in project management, awareness raising, innovation and their ability to attract and maintain mutually beneficial partnerships and community support. The group maintains an excellent track record of locally driven action that has been developed over 20 years, which gives the community a sense of ownership and trust.

PARTNER PROJECTS

Here are some of the other projects in which the FBG play a significant role.

Gondwana Link- Visit Website

An exciting and innovative project. The FBG sit on the Gondwana Link Council of partners along with Greening Australia, The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park, the Mallefowl Preservation Group and Australian Bush Heritage (click on logo for links to partner web pages below). The projects vision is: The Gondwana Link will reconnect bushland across the biologically richest corner of Australia, from the forests to the inland.

The Gondwana Link groups are: