What Happens If We Cannot Fix It? Triage, Palliative Care and Setting Priorities in Salinising Landscapes
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine / WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care
It is increasingly recognised that rising saline water tables present an unprecedented threat to both agricultural production and biodiversity conservation in the agricultural areas of Australia. In Western Australia, hydrological analysis is increasingly indicating that treatment of the problem will be difficult and costly, perhaps even impossible in some cases. Given the limited resources available for conservation management, there is a need to prioritise efforts and ensure that the level and type of management applied is both appropriate and likely to be effective. We discuss options for this in terms of ideas borrowed from healthcare provision, including triage and palliative care. We examine the range of management responses available in salinising landscapes in relation to the degree of threat, the relative value of the remnant or landscape and the likelihood of successful management intervention. While we certainly need to make a concerted effort to limit damage and loss as far as is possible, we also have to face the possibility that we cannot do this effectively everywhere, and that some areas will not be treated or treatable.