While Landcare has been around for almost thirty years and much has been written about it, there has not been a sustained attempt to bring together the various aspects of Landcare at an academic level, nor to articulate the philosophy, the methodology and basic principles of Landcare. Landcare groups, in the areas where they operate, have achieved substantial improvements in the natural environment and in the sustainability of agriculture. The perspective of the organisers of the conference is that Landcare has achieved this both because it has been successful in jointly promoting both care for the environment and social well-being, and also because it has been able to combine networking and partnership with local autonomy. It is this integrative approach that makes Landcare effective in building local self-reliance.

 As time goes by it is inevitable that new strategies and approaches will emerge. This is to be welcomed, but it will often happen that these new approaches will be more narrowly focused, perhaps on methods of resource or environmental management, etc. There is the risk that something of the integrative and holistic approach of Landcare may be lost in the process. One goal of the conference is to distill and define the essence of landcare within an academic framework, but in a way that is oriented towards practical application and towards developing an effective shared Landcare model for use by local communities across the world.