Private land conservation outcomes

 

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

 

PLC Outcomes Nov19

 

New Private Land Conservation Agreements

So far, 159 landholders have signed or plan to sign a conservation agreement with the BCT, creating conservation areas across 36,000 hectares. The BCT is investing more than $101 million to support these agreements. This investment is split 82% for in-perpetuity agreements and 18% for term agreements (minimum 15-years). 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 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 private landholders for conservation. These new conservation agreements are protecting 63 unique threatened species and more than 17 unique threatened ecological communities.

Priority Investment Areas 

The Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy 2018  maps areas of the state into five orders of priority, known as Priority Investment Areas 1 to 5, which guides the BCT’s investment priorities. To date the BCT has entered voluntary conservation agreements with landholders over 4,500 hectares of PIA 1 land, 15,700 hectares of PIA 2 land and 400 hectares of PIA 3 land. To learn more about our priority investment areas and to view our Program Implementation Plan, visit our Conservation Management Program page.

PIA Map Nov19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting NSW Landscapes 

Target 1 in the BCIS states: 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.

The BCT met Target 1 in February 2019, four years early. So far, new conservation agreements are protecting examples of five 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.  

Diversifying Incomes 

Target 3 in the BCIS states: By 2023, diversified incomes streams will improve the financial sustainability of participating landholders relative to similar local businesses.

Of 30 landholders participating in funded conservation agreements surveyed in July 2019, 83 per cent agreed that signing an agreement with the BCT has diversified their income.

Many of the highest priority investment areas identified in the BCIS 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 our agricultural heartland and support most of the cereal-growing areas and much of the irrigated farmlands of New South Wales. These areas have 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, more than two-thirds (68%) 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 Partners Program - outcomes to date

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 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 a permanent agreement. The BCT has received over 250 applications and we have ramped up our capacity to respond to this demand.

To date, the BCT has entered 46 conservation agreements and two wildlife refuge agreements with landholders, covering 4,400 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.

Revolving Fund

To date, the BCT has revolved one property and entered a conservation agreement with the new landholder. The BCT is currently in the process of selling another two properties under the Conservation Partners Program.

Conservation Partners Grants

All landholders with an agreement that does not include annual conservation payments can apply at any time for a conservation partners grant. This applies to agreements with the BCT, and any landholder participating in Humane Society International’s Wildlife Land Trust program or the Community Environment Network’s Land for Wildlife program. Grants can assist landholders to maintain the ecological values of their properties. Find out more.

The BCT is assessing grant applications on an ongoing basis. To date, the BCT has approved grants totalling more than $1.3 million.

Conservation Management Program - outcomes to date

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—conservation tenders, fixed price offers and revolving fund —to encourage landholders to participate.

Fixed Price Offers

The BCT’s first two rounds of fixed price offers have resulted in 22 conservation agreements with landholders covering 8,698 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 $7.1 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $19 to $71 per hectare per annum over the life of these agreements.

Revolving Fund

To date, the BCT has revolved one property and entered a funded conservation agreement with the new landholder. The BCT is currently in the process of selling another four properties under the Conservation Management Program.

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 about 4,500 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 about 5,890 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 11 conservation agreements covering 1,829 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 $12 million to fund the annual conservation management payments to these landholders. Typically, the BCT is paying these landholders from $164 to $300 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.

 

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.