Supported by our Olympic Dam Asset in South Australia, Arid Recovery is a joint conservation initiative between BHP Billiton, the local community, the South Australian Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, and the University of Adelaide to restore Australia’s arid lands.
The program was founded in response to the depletion or extinction of much of the original fauna and flora in the Roxby Downs region, as well as the extinction, since European settlement, of 60 per cent of native mammal species that used to inhabit the region.
The program seeks to restore examples of Australia’s arid zone ecosystems through ground works, applied research and through industry, community and government partnerships. This effort takes place on 12,300 hectares of fenced reserve that protects a range of native plants and animals. Foxes, cats and rabbits have been removed from 6,000 hectares of the reserve, making it one of the most successful and largest reserves of its kind in arid Australia.
Native plants have regenerated within the reserve, and local mammals and reptiles have responded to the removal of introduced species and domestic stock. Numerous locally extinct mammal species have been successfully reintroduced to the reserve to date, including the Greater Stick Nest Rat, the Burrowing Bettong, the Greater Bilby and the Western Barred Bandicoot.
Arid Recovery demonstrates how mining, pastoralism, tourism and conservation organisations can work together to achieve mutually beneficial ecological outcomes, and help increase understanding and adoption of sustainable land management techniques.