South Australian Environmental Trend and Condition Report Cards 2023
The foundation of South Australia’s wellbeing, quality of life, and economic prosperity is intrinsically linked to a healthy environment.
The natural landscapes that define our social and cultural identity also underpin crucial economic sectors like tourism and agriculture. Nature plays a pivotal role in individual wellbeing, from physical health to overall happiness, and contributes significantly to our economic security.
For these benefits to be realised, we need to better understand the values of nature, and how the condition of these natural values is changing through time, including in response to our management efforts.
These report cards summarise our understanding of the current condition of the South Australian environment, and how it is changing over time. Covering diverse aspects such as biodiversity, water, air, and soil, as well as key stressors and management responses, these report cards provide a comprehensive view of South Australia’s environmental trends up to 2022.
This release of report cards builds upon previous released in 2013, 2018, and 2020, contributing to a robust assessment of our environmental progress.
Our approach to trend and condition report cards in 2023
The report cards are part of a suite of environmental and sustainability reports, adhering to national and international reporting requirements. They provide an assessment of environmental conditions, trends and data reliability. Each one-page report card focuses on specific environmental indicators within five themes: Climate, Biodiversity, Water, Land and Liveability, accompanied by detailed technical documentation.
Data for our report cards is sourced from South Australia’s environmental datasets, which combine data and information from across government agencies, NGOs, universities, field naturalists, and industry.
Development of the report cards is led by the Department for Environment and Water in partnership with the Department for Energy and Mining, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, the Environment Protection Authority, Green Industries SA, Green Adelaide, and the Bureau of Meteorology.
In 2023, we introduce data charts to enhance transparency, making our data processes accessible to the public for the first time, reinforcing our commitment to openness and understanding.
38 trend and condition report cards | 2023
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Summary of our approach to trend and condition report cards | 2023
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Report Card Themes
Climate change is a pressing issue affecting South Australia, driven primarily by human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The state has witnessed significant changes in its climate, including rising temperatures, increased frequency of hot days, heightened fire danger weather conditions, declining rainfall, and rising sea levels. Projections based on climate models indicate that these changes will persist in the coming decades, necessitating effective planning and preparedness. The South Australian Government is actively involved in providing climate science information, promoting renewable energy and emissions reduction.
South Australia’s native biodiversity is globally unique, with a large number of species and ecosystems found nowhere else on Earth. This unique biological diversity forms an integral part of our cultural heritage and identity. Despite this importance, South Australia’s native species and ecosystems have undergone dramatic decline, reflecting national and global trends, with little indication of widespread recovery. The maintenance and restoration of South Australia’s native ecosystems will ensure that South Australians continue to benefit from a healthy environment.
River Murray floodplain trees condition | River Murray flow – dependent fish populations | Native flora: percentage declining | Native fauna: percentage declining | Terrestrial protected areas: landscapes adequately protected | Established invasive species abundance and distribution | New incursions of invasive species | Native vegetation: percentage cover
Coastal and marine
Mangrove vegetation: percentage cover | Coastal saltmarsh: percentage cover | Seagrass: cover within sampling sites | Subtidal macroalgae: percentage cover | Proportion of fish stocks sustainable | Marine protected areas | New incursions of invasive species | Native flora: percentage declining | Native fauna: percentage declining | Established invasive species abundance and distribution
Aquatic ecosystem condition: EPA condition assessments | Wetlands: percentage cover | Native fauna: percentage declining | Established invasive species abundance and distribution | New incursions of invasive species | Native flora: percentage declining | Lower Lakes aquatic and littoral vegetation | Coorong waterbirds populations | CLLMM diadromous fish recruitment | River Murray floodplain trees condition | River Murray flow: dependent fish populations