Land management in South Australia

South Australia’s land management practices are designed to protect the natural environment and support its primary industries.

Our land mass is home to some of the most diverse species of native plants, animals and bird life. The regulation and management of our land is critical to ensuring the sustainability of our food system and allowing continued development and competitiveness of primary industries.

Land management

The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) is responsible for sustainable land management and conservation practices on Crown land.

There are 8 regional Natural Resources Management (NRM) Boards who work with DEWNR to support and improve the land management activities through integrated natural resources management.

DEWNR and the NRM Boards also partners with organisations who have direct connections with farmers and regional communities, including:

Parks and reserves

We use parks and reserves to protect our unique ecosystems that include:

  • sandy and stony deserts
  • mallee scrub land
  • coastal ecosystems
  • off-shore islands.
Our parks and reserve management programs:

  •  remove threats from:
    • introduced or feral animals
    • domestic stock
    • weeds
  • eradicate introduced predators:
    • foxes
    • cats
  • re-introduce threatened species
  • run restoration and re-vegetation programs.

Get more parks and reserves information on the DEWNR website.

Native vegetation

We protect our native vegetation through the Native Vegetation Act 1991.

The government is committed to protecting native vegetation as part of a broader nature conservation strategy that includes the:

Our native vegetation:

  • provides habitat for our native species
  • protects the land from erosion
  • helps to reduce salinity.

We consult the Native Vegetation Council when making decisions about the removal and establishment of native vegetation in line with the Act. 

A target of the South Australian Strategic Plan is to lose no more native species to human impacts. 

Managing land resources

South Australia has 2 guiding principles for managing land resources:
  1. land must be managed in a way that doesn't negatively impact its condition
  2. planning processes ensures controlled urban and rural development. 

The Natural Resources Management Act 2004 divides South Australia into 8 regions to ensure that the natural resources of each area is catered for in an appropriate way.

Each regional Natural Resources Management (NRM) board develops a Regional NRM Plan designed to meet the needs of the local regions and contribute to state level planning. They are also responsible for:

  • developing, managing and implementing local programs
  • promoting community engagement and education.

Conservation agriculture is used in South Australia to improve land management outcomes and productivity. This type of agriculture helps:

  • soil structure
  • moisture retention
  • erosion protection.
Trends in land conditions are monitored to assess the impact of agriculture on soil, including:

Soil quality

South Australia is protecting its soil to guarantee the quality of its agricultural products.

The South Australian Strategic Plan has established Target 70 (sustainable land management) that by 2020, South Australia achieves a 25% increase in the protection of agricultural cropping land from soil erosion and a 25% improvement in the condition of pastoral land. The target is still in the future, but there is improvement in both key aspects of the target.

Land use planning

South Australia’s Development Act 1993 and associated regulations control planning and development land use. This helps to protect our quality agricultural land.

The Planning Strategy for South Australia sets out the state government’s broad directions for planning and development. The strategy has various volumes covering different geographic areas of the state:

More information

Page Last Reviewed: 30 Jul 2016
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