Natural Resource Management (NRM) is the integrated management of the natural resources that make up Australia’s natural landscapes, such as land, water, soil, plants and animals. That is, our land, water and biodiversity assets.
Effectively managing these resources requires a landscape or catchment approach that coordinates a range of land, water and biodiversity programs - in conjunction with local communities, State/Territory Governments and the Australian Government. Australia's environment provides cultural and spiritual sustenance and is the foundation of our national identity, lifestyle and economy. We rely on our environment for essential services such as food, water and clean air - alongside other crucial ecosystem services such as climate regulation, absorbing and transforming wastes, preventing disease and providing the genetic resources that are the basis for many medicines.
Australia derives a significant proportion of the nation's economic wealth from its environmental assets, including through agriculture, mining and tourism.
There will be significant costs to the Australian economy and the welfare of all Australians if these assets are allowed to degrade. They are very expensive, or often impossible, to replace.
While most ecosystem services have not been assigned a monetary value under our economic model, we can calculate figures for some areas. The Great Barrier Reef, for example, adds more than $5 billion to the Australian economy each year. Annual food exports - which depend on productive soils and water resources - are worth about $24 billion, although annual production losses due to environmental degradation are about $1.2 billion.
Australia’s vastness means that natural resource management policies must be agile enough to support diverse and different ecosystems and communities through different partnerships across Australia.
NRM organisations and their diverse partners provide this support.