Landcare in various guises has been accepted by many countries in Asia, North America, Europe, the Pacific and Africa
Landcare started in 1986 in Victoria , a southern state in Australia and became a national program by 1989. There are more than 5 000 Landcare groups now across Australia and they focus on farming improvement and biodiversity protection on both public and private land. There are Landcare Councils in each state and an Australian Landcare Council set up by the Federal Government to advise it on Landcare matters.
Individual Landcare groups come under the umbrella of one of the 73 official NRM/Catchment Management bodies across Australia and are often linked more closely within local Landcare Networks which assist individual groups seeking project funds, Landcare news and community training.
Landcare in Germany also began in 1986 with an emphasis on the protection of biodiversity on public land by adjoining private landholders, usually farmers. Government and farmers work together to manage natural habitats to improve biodiversity , and to support environmentally friendly land use systems. In the process, local communities have developed and marketed regional rural products.
Landcare has been operating in New Zealand since the early 1990s and now has more than 600 groups using Landcare practices to improve coastal areas, streamsides, farming areas and other natural resource management activities. The New Zealand Landcare Trust implements various Landcare programs and activities , supported to varying extents by regional councils. NZ experience has shown that Landcare creates a learning environment for farmers and other community groups to plan, negotiate, and implement sustainable land managemant projects.
Landcare in the Philippines grew out of efforts to promote soil conservation on the steep hillside farming areas in the uplands of the southern Philippines. This steep farmland was prone to overcultivation because land holdings were small and crop production variable. Through the support and guidance of the World Agroforestry Centre, contour farming using natural vegetative strips (based on community knowledge) became an acceptable practice and led to community based land management. Communities organised to foster the practice, develop local nurseries and exchange ideas and information leading to the development of Landcare groups and associations across the southern Philippines in the late 1990s. Landcare has developed into a community -based approach designed to effect change in complex and diverse situations.
Landcare in Canada is heavily focused on land stewardship on both public and private land. The two main centres for Landcare are in Ontario in the east and Alberta in the west. Land Care Niagara (LCN) is committed to creating a healthy and sustainable rural and urban environment, consisting of citizens who are knowledgeable and active in land resource management. They have several major heritage corridor and catchment replanting programs and support individuals and groups with technical and financial support. Clear Water Landcare in Alberta has a focus on stabilizing the riparian areas in their catchment and assisting farming and small holder owners to manage their land sustainably and improve streamwater quality. Both groups have been going for several years now.
Iceland has a major overgrazing problem due to a long tradition of community grazing plus a cold climate than makes it difficult to easily and naturally redress the effects of overgrazing. The soil erosion problems that result have been a major focus for the developing community based approach to better land management. Landcare came to Iceland in the 1990s following contact with Australian Landcare. Arctic Landcare sees its way to progress by combining agricultural productivity programs with those to repair land degradation in order to achieve sustainable land management.
Landcare was launched in South Africa in the late 1990s following contact with Australian Landcare experts and visits by South African agricultural departmental staff. Now Landcare groups are tackling a range of land degradation issues including salinity, soil erosion, pest plants and pest animals, and reduced agricultural production. Junior Landcare in both primary and secondary schools promotes Landcare ethics and practical activities.
East African Countries
The development of Landcare in a number of East African countries started with a major land management trial in Uganda and the lessons from that spread to Kenya, Tanzania, Rawanda and Ethiopia. Landcare thus grew out of a broader program to improve land management and reduce land degradation across the area, particularly following devastating droughts and community dislocation over the last 20 years. Stabilization of the soil and the wider use of conservation farming techniques were having limited effect due to the emphasis on technical project outcomes. The Landcare approach, championed by the World Agroforestry Centre based in Kenya, has brought more people-oriented, community-based programs with beneficial results. There is a strong emphasis on food security through action-oriented projects which incorporate capacity building for local landholders and government extension staff in both technical and community management.
Southern Virginia is the location of the first two Landcare groups in the USA. the emphasis here is on protecting the rural landscape values of the areas which are constantly under pressure from more intensive development due to pressures from nearby Washington,DC. and other major urban centres. Community groups under the Landcare banner use protective long term covenants, and stimulate more intensive agricultural production to maintain the rural flavour of these communities. Landcare action under a number of community guises is slowly spreading to other US States.
Landcare, or peduli lahan, in Indonesia is a new approach to better land management with the first group starting up less than two years ago in central Java. Located in the Mt. Merapi area (between an active and an inactive volcano), the community groups face low food production from steep hillside cropping, soil erosion and a recent volcanic eruption which blanketed crops and plant nurseries. The Secretariat for International Landcare, an Australian based NGO is working with INFRONT , an Indonesian academic forestry group, to further the Landcare approach in Indonesia.
The first Nigerian Landcare project began under the auspices of the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre at the University of Uyo in southern Nigeria. The project is focused on local community improvement through more sustainable use of local forests, development of forest food trees and the protection of the forest habitat of some rare monkey species.
Lanka Landcare was launched in June 2010 and was initiated by NeoSynthesis Research Centre and its Managing Director Kamy Melvani. NeoSynthesis has been working with village communities to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in a number of areas in Sri Lanka. Kamy attended the 2nd International Landcare Conference in Melbourne in 2006, which included her participation in the Crawford Fund’s Landcare Master Class. Following that, she visited Australia again to further discuss the Landcare approach and its relevance to the NeoSynthesis program.
The Indian Landcare program is in its infancy with various existing community based projects being considered as a basis for developing a successful Landcare movement there.
Fiji recently launched its first two Landcare groups on the island of Vanua Levu for the Mali and Dreketi districts in Macuata province. The formation of the Landcare groups signifies the increased responsibility villagers are willing to take on to ensure the sustainable use of their natural resources and the protection of their local environment. WWF-South Pacific has closely supported the development of these groups.
Initial discussions have been held recently with individuals and groups in Japan and Korea with the idea of taking up Landcare as a suitable way to implement a community based natural resource management program. There is also interest in other Pacific countries (Tonga, Samoa, PNG and the Solomon Islands) following the recent launch of Fiji Landcare.