In the wake of an escalating industrial revolution at the turn of the last century and the overwhelming encroachment of urbanisation of the then seemingly limitless wilderness, some forward thinking conversationalists sort fit to set aside tracks of land for nature conservation and recreation. Likewise, the clearance of hundreds of thousands of hectares of native vegetation in the agricultural regions led to a growing community realisation that there was a need to conserve areas for future generation to admire as well as to help maintain sustainable farm management practices.
The following history of native vegetation conservation outlines the relevant issues for the preservation of South Australia's native vegetation heritage, dealing with heritage controls and Native Vegetation Agreements (see Native Vegetation Heritage).
The history also covers government and community efforts to preserve parks for preservation of habitats including the setting aside in 1940 of the Peebinga and Billiatt reserves in the Murray Mallee, primarily for erosion control, but also as habitat for the rare mallee whipbird. It illustrates how two important developments took place: one was the passage through State Parliament of what was, at the time, the most modern piece of parks legislation in Australia, The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, and the second was the consolidation of park acquisition and management into a newly created State Government agency, the (then) Department of Environment and Conservation (see National Parks).