Private land conservation outcomes

 

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) encourages and supports private landholders to participate in biodiversity conservation. 

So far, 136 landholders have signed or plan to sign a conservation agreement with the BCT, creating conservation areas across more than 29,000 hectares. The BCT is investing more than $91 million to support these agreements. Landholders with funded agreements are typically being paid between $21 and $423 per hectare per annum to manage these conservation areas. Other agreement holders are eligible to apply for the BCT’s Conservation Partners Grants.

As a result, many unique landscapes, many threatened ecosystems, and habitats for our threatened native plant and animal species are now protected and being managed by the landholders for conservation.

 

PLC Outcomes Jul19_v2

 

Conservation Management Program

The BCT’s Conservation Management Program is for landholders in priority investment areas or with conservation assets seeking to enter agreements with annual conservation management payments. The BCT uses a range of mechanisms, including Conservation Tenders and Fixed Price Offers, to encourage landholders to participate.

The NSW Government’s Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy guides the BCT’s work. Many of the highest priority investment areas identified in the strategy are in the NSW sheep-wheat belt, which stretches the entire length of the state from the Queensland border to the Victorian border. These areas are agricultural heartland and support most of the cereal-growing areas and much of the irrigated farmlands of New South Wales. However, these areas have also been extensively cleared for grazing and cropping and there is a relatively low proportion of land in the protected area system. Therefore, the BCT is directing most of its investment in funded conservation agreements in this high-priority part of NSW. As a result two-thirds of the BCT’s investment in funded conservation agreements is flowing to graziers, farmers or mixed farming enterprises. These farmers are being paid by the BCT to manage parts of their properties for conservation. The BCT has also invested in threatened grasslands in the Monaro and in high-priority koala habitat on the North Coast.

Conservation Tender No. 1 - Northern Tablelands

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the Northern Tablelands. This tender resulted in 19 conservation agreements covering 4,542 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains priority NSW Landscapes, including Moonbi–Walcha Granites, Niangala Plateau and Slopes, and Dingo Spur Meta-sediments, and hosts threatened fauna species such as the koala, regent honeyeater, squirrel glider and scarlet robin.

The BCT has invested $11.2 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $46 to $205 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 2 - Murray–Riverina

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the Murray–Riverina region. This tender resulted in 15 conservation agreements covering nearly 5,870 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains seven priority NSW Landscapes and two endangered ecological communities that provide habitat for five threatened species, including the critically endangered plains-wanderer. 

The BCT has invested $14.2 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $21 to $120 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 3 - Central Tablelands

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the Central Tablelands region. This tender resulted in 13 conservation agreements covering 3,255 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains precious habitat such as Inland Grey Box Woodland and White Box–Yellow Box–Blakely’s Red Gum critically endangered ecological community, and is home to a variety of threatened fauna, including the turquoise parrot, superb parrot, powerful owl, koala, spotted-tailed quoll, grey-crowned babbler, varied sittella and scarlet robin.

The BCT has invested $14.4 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $59 to $229 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 4 – Koala habitat around Port Macquarie

The BCT has completed a conservation tender for priority Koala habitat in the Port Macquarie area. This tender resulted in five conservation agreements covering 173 hectares of priority Koala habitat.

The area covered by these agreements contains important Koala habitat and vegetation communities. It is also home to threatened species including the Wallum froglet, masked owl, square-tailed kite, glossy black-cockatoo, black-necked stork, spotted-tailed quoll, brushtailed phascogale, squirrel glider, common blossom-bat, little bent-wing bat and dwarf heath casuarina.

The BCT has invested $6.3 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $423 to $1182 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 5 – Monaro Grasslands

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the Monaro. This tender resulted in nine conservation agreements covering 1,699 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains natural temperate grasslands that provide habitat for several state and nationally threatened species including the pink-tailed worm-lizard, striped legless lizard, small purple-pea, button wrinklewort, Monaro golden daisy, Austral toadflax and the grassland earless dragon.

The BCT has invested $11.3 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $150 to $290 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 6 – North West Plains

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the North West Plains. The BCT is entering nine conservation agreements covering 1,890 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains priority NSW Landscapes, and Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) such as Coolibah-Black Box Woodland in the Darling Riverine Plains, Brigalow Belt South, Cobar Peneplain and Mulga Lands Bioregions. Threatened species now protected by these agreements include the black-striped wallaby, powerful owl and red-tailed black-cockatoo.

The BCT has invested $8.3 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT will be paying these landholders from $75 to $423 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 7 – South West Slopes

The BCT has completed a conservation tender in the South West Slopes region. The BCT is entering ten conservation agreements covering 3,246 hectares.

These contain several priority NSW Landscapes and threatened ecological communities such as Inland Grey Box Woodland, White Box Yellow Box Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland and Sandhill Pine Woodland, that provide habitat for a variety of threatened species, including the superb parrot, glossy black-cockatoo, squirrel glider and the critically endangered swift parrot.

The BCT has invested $11.5 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $42 to $219 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 8 – Lachlan Corridor

The BCT has completed a conservation tender along the Lachlan Corridor. The BCT is entering three conservation agreements covering 1,355 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contains important riparian vegetation, protecting stands of ancient River Red Gums which provide habitat and hollows for threatened birds, bats and arboreal mammals. Fauna reliant on this vegetation include the superb parrot, bush stone-curlew, eastern pygmy-possum and barking owl.

The BCT has invested $7.0 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $234 to $381 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Conservation Tender No. 9 – Koala Habitat in Lismore/Ballina

The BCT has completed a conservation tender for priority koala habitat in the Lismore/Ballina area. The BCT is entering five conservation agreements covering 82 hectares.

The area covered by these agreements contain important koala habitat, as well as threatened ecological communities including Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest, and Swamp Sclerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplains. This area is also home to threatened species including the sooty owl, squirrel glider and grey-crowned babbler. 

The BCT has invested $1.6 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $120 to $1637 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

 

Fixed Price Offer - batch one

The BCT’s first batch of Fixed Price Offers resulted in nine Conservation Agreements with landholders covering 3,460 hectares

These conservation areas contain endangered ecological communities such as Semi-evergreen Vine Thicket, Inland Grey Box Woodland, and White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland.

The BCT has invested $5.95 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. 

Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $19 to $60 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.
 

 

Conservation Partners Program 

The BCT’s Conservation Partners Program is for landholders wishing to protect and manage biodiversity on their land. It is available for landholders who are ineligible to participate in the Conservation Management Program or not seeking a funded agreement.

 

Landholder applications

Landholders wishing to permanently protect and conserve biodiversity on their land can apply to enter into an in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement with the BCT at any time. A Wildlife Refuge Agreement is an option for landholders who wish to protect their land but do not want to enter into a permanent agreement. The BCT has received over 250 applications and we are ramping up our capacity to respond to this demand.

To date, the BCT has entered 35 Conservation Agreements with landholders, covering more than 3,400 hectares.

These agreements include many threatened species of fauna such as the Grey-headed Flying-fox, the Glossy Black-cockatoo, the Brush-tailed Phascogale, the Southern Pink Underwing Moth and the Koala and threatened species of flora including the Native Milkwort, Square-fruited Ironbark, Sandstone Rough-barked Apple, Wee Jasper Grevillea, and the Southern Ochrosia.

 

Conservation Partners Grants

All landholders with an agreement with BCT (or HSI and CEN) that does not include annual conservation management payments can apply at any time for a Conservation Partners Grant. Grants can assist landholders to maintain the ecological values of their properties. Find out more

The BCT is assessing and offering grants to landholders on an ongoing basis.


 

Targets for protecting NSW Landscapes

The Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2018 sets four targets. Two targets are about protecting examples of NSW Landscapes: 

  • Target 1: By 2023, private land conservation agreements will protect examples of 30 NSW Landscapes that are either not represented within, or are inadequately protected in, the protected area system in 2017.
  • Target 3: By 2038, private land conservation agreements will protect examples of 90 NSW Landscapes which are either not represented within, or are inadequately protected in, the protected area system in 2023.

The BCT met Target 1 in February 2019, four years early.

The new conservation agreements with landholders have protected examples of two NSW Landscapes that were not previously represented within the protected area system and 64 NSW Landscapes that are inadequately protected

Reaching Target 1 means that the BCT has contributed progress towards meeting CAR targets. However, this does not mean these NSW Landscapes are now adequately protected or that CAR targets have been met. The BCT will now focus on achieving Target 3, to sample a further 90 unique, inadequately-protected NSW Landscapes.  



 

Benefits for landholders

Landholder Helen Huggins recently signed an in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement with the BCT for her property, Savernake Station. Here she talks from the heart about the significance of protecting her land for conservation.