Source: Mark Jekabsons


What is Government doing?

The ACT has shown leadership in a number of areas of environmental and sustainability policy. These include being the first jurisdiction in Australia to:

More recently, the ACT has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to commit to phasing out domestic wood fire heaters in the interest of air quality improvement.

These accomplishments are commendable. However, the urgency driving the development of environmental policies is increasing, and there is continuous innovation both nationally and internationally which means there are always opportunities for new policy interventions in the environment and sustainability space. It is therefore important that the ACT Government continues to look forward and build on its early successes in this area of policy.

In writing this State of the Environment Report, the Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (OCSE) commissioned a review of ACT legislation and policies (the Policy Review) which govern the way our environment is managed and protected. This review can be read in full here.

Findings from the Policy Review for different policy areas are included in the corresponding indicator themes of this report. This section provides an overview of some generalised findings across the full suite of policies. Overall, the Policy Review found that the environment and sustainability topics considered by the ACT’s policy suite are comprehensive. The only major gap identified was a strategic approach to the management of soils in the Territory.

Despite the ACT Government’s public commitment to sustainability, the Policy Review found that evidence to support progress toward environmental objectives is limited and there are areas where declines in outcomes continue. There is increasing public interest in how governments are seeking to become more sustainable which makes transparency critical to informed public debate.

The objectives of the ACT’s environment and sustainability policies relate to economic, social and environmental values and need to be managed at a variety of scales ranging from individual habitat patches up to the entire ACT. There are at least 30 Acts on the ACT Government legislation register that have some relevance to sustainability, and implementation of each Act is associated with a different suite of policies. In 2023, this corresponds to 12 ministerial portfolios distributed across eight Members of the Legislative Assembly. These are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Details of Acts with relevance to sustainability

Lakes Act 1976WaterEPSDDMinister for Water, Shane Rattenbury
Animal Welfare Act 1992City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Act 1993EnvironmentEPSDDMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti
Lands Acquisition Act 1994Planning and Land ManagementEPSDDMinister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman
Public Health Act 1997HealthACT HealthMinister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith
Environment Protection Act 1997EnvironmentEPSDD Access CanberraMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti Minister for Better Regulation, Tara Cheyne
Domestic Animals Act 2000City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
Fisheries Act 2000WaterEPSDDMinister for Water, Shane Rattenbury
Plant Diseases Act 2002 (Note: to be repealed by Biosecurity Bill 2023)EnvironmentEPSDDMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti
Litter Act 2004City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
Dangerous Substances Act 2004Sustainable Building Workplace SafetyEPSDD
Minister for Sustainable Building, Rebecca Vassarotti Minister for Workplace Safety, Mick Gentleman
Heritage Act 2004HeritageEPSDDMinister for Heritage, Rebecca Vassarotti
Building Act 2004Sustainable Building and ConstructionEPSDDMinister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti
Emergencies Act 2004Emergency Services


Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mick Gentleman
Treasurer, Andrew Barr
Human Rights Act 2004Human RightsJACSMinister for Human Rights, Tara Cheyne
Animal Diseases Act 2005 (Note: to be repealed by the Biosecurity Bill 2023)EnvironmentEPSDDMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti
Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005 (Note: to be repealed by the Biosecurity Bill 2023)EnvironmentEPSDDMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti
Water Resources Act 2007WaterEPSDDMinister for Water, Shane Rattenbury
Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008Emissions ReductionEPSDDMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury
Dangerous Goods (Road Transport) Act 2009Workplace SafetyCMTEDDMinister for Workplace Safety, Mick Gentleman
Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010Emissions ReductionEPSDDMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury
Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011Emissions ReductionEPSDDMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury
Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012Emissions ReductionEPSDDMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury
Public Unleased Land Act 2013City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
Nature Conservation Act 2014EnvironmentEPSDDMinister for Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti
Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act 2016City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017Treasury
Suburban Development
Treasurer, Andrew Barr
Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry
Plastic Reduction Act 2021City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel
Planning Act 2023PlanningEPSDDMinister for Planning, Mick Gentleman
Urban Forest Act 2023City ServicesTCCSMinister for City Services, Chris Steel

Ideally, the cumulative outcomes of an effective and cohesive suite of environment and sustainability policies would surpass the outcomes of all the individual policies. In practice, the range of legislation and administering agencies makes it difficult to assess whether this is the case.

Across the suite of policies, the Policy Review found that while there are generally clear descriptions of the legislative and policy context, there is little consideration of the interdependencies among policies nor of the opportunities or risks associated with inter-related actions. This poses a risk to each policy area because if one area does not perform as expected then this will influence the ACT Government’s capacity to achieve objectives in other areas. Complementary or synergistic policy development and implementation should in theory be achievable in a small jurisdiction like the ACT. Such an approach would result in efficiencies in delivery and resource allocation.

It should particularly be noted that environment and sustainability policy cannot be regarded as solely the purview of those parts of government which work explicitly on these matters, such as the Parks and Conservation Service or the Environment Branch in the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD). These areas are working hard to protect the ACT’s natural places and native ecosystems; however, the threats which our environment faces are often the result of policy enactments by other parts of ACT Government.

This was demonstrated in the 2022 State of the Lakes and Waterways in the ACT Report, which found that the Healthy Waterways Program run by the Environment Branch spent almost $100 million of Australian Government and ACT Government money on installing more than 20 new wetlands throughout Canberra to prevent sediment and other pollutants from entering the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee rivers. At the same time, poor planning and management of erosion control measures, and inadequate enforcement of those measures, at urban infill and greenfield developments in the Molonglo River catchment has likely led to many tonnes of sediment washing into the rivers.

In effect this means that the efforts of the Environment Branch have been undermined by the activities of the Suburban Land Agency, Planning and Land Authority, and Environment Protection Authority. This disjointed approach to waterway protection not only results in damage to vulnerable natural ecosystems and species but also is a substantial waste of public money.

Every part of ACT Government must consider the impacts of their work on the natural environment.

In October 2023, a Bill was presented in the ACT Legislative Assembly proposing to introduce the right to a healthy environment into the Human Rights Act 2004. This stemmed from a commitment in the 10th Parliamentary and Governing Agreement to consider the recognition of this right.

The amendment Bill stipulates that “everyone has the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.” This aligns with language used by the United Nations (UN) and is intentionally broad to ensure the right is not limited and can develop alongside international human rights legislation.

Recognition of the right to a healthy environment is not a new concept. While the ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to legislate this right, more than 80% of UN member States have already recognised it in law. For example, the Philippines, Norway and France all recognise the right to a healthy environment both constitutionally and legislatively. Furthermore, in July 2022 the UN General Assembly passed a landmark resolution to recognise the right to a healthy environment with support from 161 member States, including Australia. This points to a growing global understanding of the interdependence of environmental and human health, and an emerging awareness that a healthy environment is necessary for the enjoyment of other human rights.

The right to a healthy environment encompasses both substantive and procedural elements. The following table outlines these elements as identified by the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights and the environment. All of these have been incorporated in the explanatory statement of the ACT’s amendment Bill, which also emphasises the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural rights.

Table 2. Good practice elements of the right to a healthy environment.

  • Clean air
  • A safe climate
  • Access to safe water and adequate sanitation
  • Healthy and sustainably produced food
  • Non-toxic environments in which to live, work, study and play
  • Healthy biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Access to environmental information
  • Public participation in environmental decision-making
  • Access to justice

As defined through a human rights lens, a healthy environment is one in which all substantive and procedural elements are upheld for current and future generations.

Notably, the procedural right to access justice gives communities legal recourse to sue for breaches of their right to a healthy environment. However, in the Bill’s proposed form this will not apply to public authorities in the ACT context – at least not initially. The Bill includes a provision that public authorities (e.g. the ACT Government) cannot incur legal action for acting in a way that is incompatible with the right, nor for failing to properly consider the right in decision-making. This provision is set to be reviewed five years after the Bill’s commencement to determine whether it will remain ongoing or be removed. This is to allow time for the right to be institutionalised in decision-making and policies before being subject to litigation.

In time, it is hoped that this new legislation will bring greater accountability to governments, corporations and individuals, preventing ecosystem degradation and strengthening environmental protections in the ACT. This has proved successful elsewhere, with studies showing jurisdictions that recognise the right to healthy environment tend to have improved environmental performance including cleaner air, greater access to safe drinking water, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and smaller ecological footprints.

The introduction of the right to a healthy environment will ideally lead to environmental human rights issues being identified and addressed in the early stages of law and policy development, ultimately creating better outcomes for both people and the planet.

As noted above, sound environmental principles should not be limited to policy developed by parts of the ACT Government directly working on matters relating to sustainability and the environment, but should be a consideration for all policy-makers in the ACT. A major challenge for environmental protection and promotion of sustainable development is the siloing of policy development within government. The ACT is taking steps to address this through its Wellbeing Framework (refer to Section 7.5 below) which is used as part of the budget process, following successful application of this approach in countries such as Wales and New Zealand. The concept has also very recently been introduced in Australia at a federal level.

In the ACT, successful environmental policies will incorporate as many as possible of the following principles:

Apply the precautionary approach to human health, natural resources and ecosystems

Address multiple threats

Enable and reward sustainable use of natural resources and prioritise natural systems

Foster integration and interrelationship across jurisdictions

Take a comprehensive and long-term view

Translate vision into action

Clearly assign roles and responsibilities

Adequately resource implementation, monitoring and compliance

Take an informed, adaptive approach

Be climate-change ready

Adopt participatory, transparent and accountable decision-making

The Aichi Strategic Goals, developed through the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, acknowledge that management actions need to be tailored to local conditions and the best way to do this is through processes that engage local stakeholders. These principles could be adapted and meaningfully applied across a range of policy areas in the ACT.

Table 3. Vision and goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20.

By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people
A Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
B Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
C Improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
D Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
E Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building

The interplay of…legislation and the roles and responsibilities of agencies are complex. In most cases, these intersections do not accord primacy to environmental considerations, and result in outcomes that are not consistent with, and do not support, nature positive outcomes.

This quote is taken from the final report of an independent review commissioned by the NSW Government of its own Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, released in August 2023. The Policy Review has found that this statement could equally be applied to the ACT, where environmental considerations continue to be secondary to other priorities such as urban growth and European heritage.

The reasons for the de-prioritisation of environmental protection compared with other policy areas are complex. Most obviously, in the hierarchy of political decision-making environmental protection is generally – and understandably – considered less pressing than immediate human needs for housing, health and safety, and public amenities. Environmental values may also be traded-off for economic gain (for example, where they are a barrier to a lucrative commercial development), be considered too difficult or expensive to accommodate (for example, limiting scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions), be poorly understood (for example, walkers building stone cairns in reserves and destroying native habits in the process) or simply be overlooked.

Efforts should be made to design policies which recognise and address these challenges, while also continuing to meet the needs of ACT residents. The sections below further consider some of the challenges faced by environmental policy-makers in the ACT, and identify areas of opportunity across the ACT environmental policy suite as a whole. Comments in this section are based predominantly on the findings of the Policy Review as well as OCSE’s own investigations.

Managing uncertainty

Environmental management is by nature beset by uncertainty — accurate predictions of how ecosystems will respond to different policy interventions are very difficult to make. There is also unpredictability in the development of new responses to manage environment and sustainability issues, such as new techniques, technologies and research findings. This means that while many ACT policies may start out cutting-edge, there is a risk that they become dated as knowledge and technologies develop and context changes. For example, the ACT Waste Strategy 2011–25 states that ‘a third bin garden waste collection service would not significantly reduce waste to landfill but could adversely affect established small businesses providing gardening services’. However, a garden waste bin collection service is now well established throughout the ACT and regarded as an effective waste-reduction approach.

There is also uncertainty in how effective implementation of different policy approaches will be, and to some extent this is governed by the target audience for the policy. Development policies, for example, apply to a defined group of people in a particular operating context (developers, builders, tradespeople etc) who will generally implement or respect the policy. In contrast, environmental policies cover a broader range of values, some of which affect a range of stakeholders and may not align with everyone’s interests. Implementation and enforcement of these more dispersed policy areas is likely to be much more uncertain than those relating to an activity or site which is clearly defined and clearly visible.

In designing policies with biodiversity conservation in mind, it is important to recognise that ecosystems which are already compromised or degraded are likely to be less resilient and less responsive to policy interventions than those in good condition. Environmental uncertainty increases as development creates novel ecosystems and climate change produces unexpected effects. Another issue that arises is that if one policy changes or becomes ineffective, its relationship to other policies will change. There does not appear to be a process in place to address this risk.

This uncertainty needs to be considered in the development and implementation of policy. The most effective way of managing uncertainty is adaptive management, which includes ongoing assessments of condition and setting measurable outcomes. Despite ubiquitous uncertainty, the Policy Review found that very few policy areas were developed around an adaptive management framework. This increases the risk that implemented actions are not appropriate or effective, that they contribute to only some objectives or fail to complement actions implemented under other strategies.

Monitoring and measuring

Adaptive management provides a way of dealing with uncertainty but in applying adaptive management it is important to ensure that there is evidence to support any change of approach. If done well, this will also improve transparency and accountability to the public.

Across all policy areas, the Policy Review found a gap in the articulation of clearly defined and measurable outcomes. It is likely that this is a result of uncertainty as discussed above. While this is understandable, from a management perspective it is likely to contribute to increasing policy failure rates and at a minimum means that it is difficult to know whether policy interventions are effective. Based on data collection efforts for this State of the Environment Report, this appears to be what is happening in the ACT in many policy areas.

In general, policy areas relating to planning and sustainable development had little evidence of commitments to collect data beyond what is already known. Policy areas relating to the environment and conservation included more definite plans for monitoring activities and the generation of new knowledge through citizen and institutional research. Data collection and management should be a consideration across all policy areas.

One of the most significant findings across all policies is that there is a paucity of information available on current ecological conditions or major threats. As noted in the 2019 ACT State of the Environment Report, data availability, quality and comprehensiveness is a key limitation for indicator assessments. This situation does not appear to have changed markedly in the past four years. Assessing effectiveness of policy intervention is critical to identification and mitigation of risk, prioritisation of actions and communication with stakeholders.

Many ACT Government policies also contain goals or actions which are impossible to measure explicitly. For example, in the Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, key priorities mostly use words such as ‘encourage’, ‘support’ and ‘collaborate’, which cannot be measured in any meaningful way. Even apparently quantitative language such as ‘expand’ or ‘reduce’ may not be helpful as they give no sense of the scale at which an increase or reduction would be viewed as a success. A 0.1% decrease in the number of petrol vehicles on the road is a reduction but is unlikely to have any real-world impact on the ACT’s emissions. Many strategies and plans also commit to ‘investigate’ a particular topic or approach; since an investigation may not lead to any action such commitments are unlikely to result in tangible outcomes.

The Policy Review noted that where measurements or targets are built into policy, they may be based on outputs rather than outcomes. An example of this is basing the success of the ACT Environmental Offsets Policy on the output of hectares of offsets established rather than on protection of biodiversity. Assumptions such as this are not necessarily incorrect, but policies should clearly state when an output is being used as a proxy for an outcome and what the basis for this is.

One topic which particularly highlights this issue across all policy areas is that of community engagement. Engagement is included in most policy areas, ranging from seeking input from residents (e.g. planning), education on roles and risk management (e.g. fire) to community outreach (e.g. nature conservation). The overarching aim of engagement within each strategy is ultimately to contribute to the strategy’s objectives. However, in practice engagement appears often to be viewed as an end in itself. The anticipated value of any engagement program should be articulated and the causal link between engagement and contribution to the environmental objective documented.

Managing interrelationships

The ACT Government has ensured that relationships among policies are described in policies. While these links are identified, it is not always clear what influence the linkages between these policies mean in terms of the principles, frameworks or priority actions proposed. This makes it difficult to assess the extent to which the policies are complementary. Policy areas vary in their complexity with some areas having only a few strategies or plans, while others have many strategies and plans with the relationships between them poorly articulated.

The development of policies for specific areas, without any overarching framework that maps out their interactions, poses a risk that the areas will turn into silos when they are actually highly connected and interdependent.

An example is the continuation of greenfield development on rural sites outside Canberra, which even when well-executed have a myriad of detrimental effects on the ecosystems and wildlife of the region. While the ACT Government does not have an articulated policy ‘hierarchy’ which places environmental values lower than anthropocentric values, this often appears to be what happens during implementation. The more ‘powerful’ policies, which are generally those that relate to anthropocentric values, should explicitly consider the impacts and opportunities they present to facilitate or undermine the achievement of environmental policies.

Each policy should consider its effects on other policy areas. In particular, the policy should consider its effect on environmental systems that are already under pressure or highly degraded. If there is a high risk that implementation of the policy will have an adverse effect on environmental values, then the policy should acknowledge responsibility for these environmental costs. This is very much a live issue, as evidenced by the introduction of the new ACT planning system in 2023. While one of the stated aims of the new approach is to create a more resilient Canberra which is better adapted to climate change, it fails to acknowledge that land development and construction are two of the ACT’s biggest contributors to scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, as well as being key drivers of the habitat loss and fragmentation which threaten biodiversity. In this regard, the new planning system is in effect a driver for the environmental decline whose impacts it states it is seeking to mitigate.

The Policy Review observed that all policy areas would benefit from a fuller consideration of the risks associated with the policy. This includes the risks to policy implementation including its feasibility and likelihood of failure, the risks the policy is seeking to address and the risks of not achieving policy outcomes.

Risks affect both anthropogenic and environmental values but generally those values focussed on humans take priority over natural ones. For example, during the 2020 bushfires intensive efforts were made to protect the heritage-registered stockmen’s huts in Namadgi National Park through the construction of earth breaks and the use of foil wrapping and sprinkler systems on some of the huts. Conversely, no comparable efforts were made to protect ancient hollow-bearing trees which cannot be rebuilt and will take hundreds of years to re-form naturally, even assuming no future fires destroy them before they reach a size to provide hollows.

Ensuring the health of our natural environment remains one of the most important actions in preserving the wellbeing of both current and future generations.

ACT Wellbeing Framework

The ACT Wellbeing Framework was introduced by Chief Minister Andrew Barr in 2020 with the aim of measuring indicators of social condition alongside traditional economic indicators. It includes 12 ‘domains’ which consider different aspects of wellbeing for ACT residents. These include such diverse topics as ‘Governance and institutions’, ‘Identity and belonging’ and ‘Time’, and can be viewed in full in Table 4 below. A range of data is collected to measure progress within these different domains.

As part of the domain ‘Environment and climate’ the ACT Wellbeing Framework states that ‘the quality and sustainability of our air, water, land, and flora and fauna are critical to sustaining our lives’. It is encouraging to see the importance of a healthy environment recognised in this way in an overarching ACT Government framework. In its present form, the framework does not, however, adequately recognise the foundational necessity of a healthy, functioning environment as a basis for all other measures of a successful human society.

If the ACT Government genuinely considers that this domain is ‘critical’ and ‘one of the most important actions’ it can take for the wellbeing of its citizens, it should be weighted more heavily within the framework. This is in keeping with emerging international approaches that recognise a functioning society and economy cannot exist without an environment that is fit to support them.

Figure 1. Interconnectedness of economy, society and environment.

Source: The European Sustainability Competence Framework

Table 4. ACT Wellbeing Framework domains and aspirations

Domain nameDefinitionOur aspiration for wellbeing in this area
Access and connectivityGetting around to places we value and accessing the services we needOur planning, mobility and service systems allow us to move around our liveable city and access the types of places and services we need, when we need them. Those who require additional support to gain independence can access responsive, tailored services
EconomyWe share in our city’s economyA strong economy, business and innovation sector creates opportunities for all Canberrans to share in the wealth of our city
Education and life-long learningGaining the skills and education needed at all stages of lifeCanberrans have equitable access to education and learning opportunities, through all ages and stages of life, to develop and gain the skills needed to live life well
Environment and climateThe environment sustains all life now and into the futureCanberra’s natural environment sustains all life, is accessible, climate resilient, and clean
Governance and institutionsHaving a say, being heard, and working together for better outcomesAll Canberrans can have their say, connect with and be part of key government processes. Canberrans have a government and other institutions that respect human rights, are responsible, reliable, have integrity, are open, and are fair
HealthBeing healthy and supported with the right careCanberrans have good physical and mental health at every stage of life and can access the services they need to lead healthier lives and manage illness. Individuals take steps to proactively maintain good health with the support of health-promoting environments
Housing and homeHaving a place to call homeCanberrans have access to secure, suitable and affordable housing throughout their lives
Identity and belongingBeing able to express identity, feel a sense of belonging and participate fully in societyAll Canberrans can participate on equal terms, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background or disability. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a strong voice, are decision-makers on issues that impact them and lead in the achievement of positive life outcomes. We are proud to be Canberrans
Living standardsHaving the financial resources to live life wellCanberrans can be economically secure and have the means to help manage their lives
SafetyFeeling safe and being safeCanberrans are and feel safe and secure around their families, homes, community and on-line
Social connectionBeing connected with family, friends and communityCanberrans are connected and supported within our community and come together in areas such as sport, culture, spirituality, religion and the arts
TimeHaving time to live life wellCanberrans have the time to do things we want to as well as the things we are required to do

The ACT Wellbeing Framework signals the intention of ACT Government to consider measures beyond economic growth in determining whether its policies are successfully improving the lives of ACT residents. This is a positive step, and the practical impact of the framework will be considered in future ACT State of the Environment reports.

Introduce a mechanism to increase understanding of the impacts ACT Government policies have on one another in relation to environmental outcomes.

The purpose of such a mechanism would be to capture where the implementation of one policy may have a material effect on the implementation of another. This could be either beneficial — such as a heritage registration which protects a site that also has ecological values — or detrimental — such as where fire protection policies require the removal of native vegetation. While these interactions may be recognised at the delivery level, they are currently not well understood at the ACT scale. In the long term, better information about such interrelationships can be used to help in policy design which minimises perverse outcomes across the ACT policy suite.

Ensure all ACT Government policies relating to the environment and sustainability have clearly measurable and reportable outcomes.

It should be clear whether a policy has been successful or not based on whether its outcomes have been achieved. Using quantitative or subjective measures to determine this will enable a more meaningful assessment of whether policies are effective. For example, a target to ‘increase’ a particular metric should instead use a specific percentage or figure; a target to ‘investigate’ a particular topic should instead state that a study will be completed that will inform the future direction of work relating to that topic.

Develop a Soils Strategy for the ACT.

This is currently missing from the ACT policy suite. Such a strategy would encompass biological, carbon sequestration and agricultural aspects of soil protection and management.