The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the responsibility entrusted to it by the parliament and people of South Australia to periodically assess and report on the condition of the state’s environment. We hope that, in presenting this sixth state of the environment report for South Australia, we will continue to improve understanding of the key environmental issues we face, and through greater knowledge, reduce the risks to a sustainable South Australia.

The context within which state of the environment reports have been produced since first published about 25 years ago has seen major changes. This, the most recent report on the environment of South Australia, looks back over a period in which the effects of a changing climate became more pronounced, including in the form of unseasonal and extreme weather events. It is a period in which concern about the resilience of our natural environment to the many pressures it faced reached new heights.

The South Australian environment is in a moderate and finely balanced state, and there is much work to do to be able to report even a steady condition in five years’ time.

The impacts on the state of our natural assets are mainly the result of the collective decisions and behaviour of people — yet it is we humans who stand to lose most from a degraded and dysfunctional natural environment. Perhaps this disjunction reflects weaknesses in the availability, accessibility and communication of environmental information. For this reason, at the same time as releasing the 2013 state of the environment report, the Environment Protection Authority is also releasing a plan to improve future state of the environment reporting. The plan includes a recommendation for a whole-of-government environmental information plan to fill important gaps in environmental knowledge, and to coordinate, integrate, better use and share the many sources of environmental information available within and outside government.

This report would not have been possible without the contributions of many people in a number of government departments and the input of expert peer reviewers, and we express our thanks and appreciation to all for their valuable effort.

We trust that this report will prove to be a valuable resource for policymakers, natural resource managers, students and all other custodians of our state’s natural assets.

Dr Campbell Gemmell

Dr Campbell Gemmell
Chief Executive
Environment Protection Authority

Ms Mia Hanshin

Ms Mia Hanshin
Presiding Member
Board of the Environment Protection Authority

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