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Topics > Ecosystem conservation

Nature Conservation Directions Statement

Nature provides the tools for human wellbeing: complex and dynamic ecosystems with abundant biodiversity are the foundation for all life on Earth. Preserving and restoring our precious natural environment helps South Australians to prosper. This Directions Statement represents the Government’s commitment to preserving and enhancing South Australia’s enviable diversity of natural systems.

This Directions Statement sets a vision for all South Australians to forge a new relationship with nature. It sets goals supported by leading practice principles, and will be implemented through an action plan where priorities are addressed according to a strong evidence base.

Taking practical action

We will work together with all levels of government, First Nations, conservation organisations, business sectors, and the community to address biodiversity decline and change our relationship with nature. This will ensure that the benefits from nature are enjoyed both now, and by future generations.

We will prepare an action plan that sets out this new approach in detail. The action plan will build on local and global knowledge to ensure that our actions are inclusive, practical, planned to meet clear goals, and designed in such a way that we can learn and adapt what we do. We will monitor and evaluate so that we can learn what needs to change in order to achieve real and positive outcomes in nature conservation.


We will conserve nature. We will change our relationship with nature and foster a shared responsibility for nature conservation. We will strengthen the role of the community in managing our impact on nature sustainably while we search for new ways to conserve nature in our rapidly changing world.

Goals and Objectives

We have three goals for nature conservation in South Australia. They were developed using the lessons we have learned, our knowledge of the South Australian community, and are aligned to Australia's Strategy for Nature.

Goal 1: Put people at the heart of nature conservation


  • Use nature sustainably so that benefits are available now and for future generations.
  • Improve the connection of people with nature.
  • Enhance nature in urban environments, including Green Adelaide.
  • Foster positive interactions between humans and wildlife.
  • Improve community health and wellbeing through nature.
  • Build a tourism sector that is sustained by a healthy natural environment and well-designed nature-based tourism.

Goal 2: Take action to conserve nature


  • Protect and restore ecosystems, ecosystem processes and the services that we receive from ecosystems.
  • Conserve threatened species using a dynamic planning approach in response to our changing climate.
  • Manage our world-class terrestrial and marine protected area system as part of the landscape and seascape.
  • Strategically manage pressures (threats) to nature.
  • Address socio-environmental challenges by adopting nature-based solutions that achieve multiple societal and ecological benefits.

Goal 3: Use and share knowledge


  • Use multiple knowledge systems.
  • Set priorities and assess progress, and adaptively manage using knowledge and evidence.
  • Collect information that informs us on our management and outcomes.
  • Manage and share data to maximise outcomes.
  • Engage the community in citizen science.

Guiding principles

To pursue our goals and transform our approach to nature conservation, we will be guided by three principles:

1. Achieve sustainable economic prosperity by caring for nature

  • Nature underpins our lifestyle and our social and economic wellbeing.
  • The benefits that we receive from our relationship with nature are finite and many are degrading.
  • Sustainable economic growth requires changing our collective relationship with nature.

2. Be flexible and adaptable in an uncertain and rapidly changing world

  • Acknowledgement that the world is changing and nature is changing in response.
  • Equal importance given to success and lack of success from existing conventional nature conservation approaches.
  • Lack of certainty is not a reason to not do a project.

3. Respect, understand and include different perspectives

  • Respect for the cultures, values, knowledge and practices of First Nations people.
  • Inclusion of traditional custodians in planning and decision-making.
  • Acceptance of multiple perspectives and knowledge systems.

We are part of a global commitment to nature conservation

The Directions Statement is part of South Australia’s ongoing relationship with national and global conservation strategies and commitments. We align to these strategies and commitments in our nature conservation planning and actions, and we influence them through our adaptive management, collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention

Australia is signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), which provide international frameworks for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and wetlands. In 2010, the CBD parties adopted a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which contained five strategic goals and 20 measurable targets known as the Aichi Targets.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, all United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are 17 integrated goals, each with a series of embedded targets. These provide an overarching global framework for recognising the intrinsic links between areas that have historically been treated in silos, such as hunger and poverty, livelihoods, economic growth, health and wellbeing, biodiversity, energy, water and climate change.

Australia’s Strategy for Nature

Australia prepares and updates a national biodiversity strategy and action plan as a CBD signatory. Australia’s most recent strategy and action plan, Australia’s Strategy for Nature, was released in 2019. Australia’s Strategy for Nature sets three goals: connect all Australians with nature; care for nature in all its diversity; and share and build knowledge. These are underpinned by 12 objectives.

Australia’s Strategy for Nature is aligned with the CBD Aichi Targets and the SDGs, providing an important channel through which South Australia contributes to these global commitments.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

The EPBC Act provides the framework for protecting matters of national environmental significance. The EPBC Act promotes ecologically sustainable development and manages: biodiversity conservation, national environmental assessment and approvals processes, protection of important natural and cultural places and international wildlife movements. It recognises and promotes the role of Indigenous knowledge and involvement in biodiversity.