Private Land Conservation Outcomes
Private Land Conservation Outcomes
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust is managing 2,261 Private Land Conservation agreements with landholders across more than 2.258 million hectares. This represents more than 2.8 per cent of the landmass of NSW.
Since 2017, 424 landholders have entered or plan to enter a conservation agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, creating conservation areas across 251,000 hectares.
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust is investing more than $204 million to support these agreements. This investment is split 70 per cent for in-perpetuity agreements and 30 per cent for term agreements (minimum 15-years). Landholders with funded agreements are typically being paid between $5 and $433 per hectare, per annum, to manage these conservation areas.
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.
Agreements with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust protect at least 126 unique threatened species and at least 22 threatened ecological communities.
Landholders with partnership conservation agreements are eligible to apply for Conservation Partners Grants.
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust has approved Conservation Partners Grants worth $6.63 million to 349 landholders across 64,400 hectares, and invested in 315,400 hectares of conservation areas, overall.
Priority Investment Areas
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 NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust met Target 1 in February 2019, four years early. So far, new conservation agreements are protecting examples of 9 landscapes not previously represented within the protected area system and 106 landscapes that are inadequately protected.
Under the Biodiversity Offsets Program the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust has protected 1 NSW landscape not previously represented within the protected area system and 22 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.
Target 3 in the BCIS states: By 2023, diversified incomes streams will improve the financial sustainability of participating landholders relative to similar local businesses.
Under-funded conservation agreements, 161 landholders have received annual payments worth $9.1 million over the past 12 months to manage 106,031 hectares of conservation areas (an average of $56,521 per annum per landholder or $86 per annum per hectare) providing these landholders with an additional source of income.
Many of the highest priority investment areas identified in the BCIS are in the NSW sheep-wheat belt, which stretches the 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, around two-thirds (66 per cent) 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.
A December 2020 survey showed 69 per cent of 141 participating landholders with a funded conservation agreement agreed that signing an agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust had diversified their income (with 15 per cent unsure/neutral and 15 per cent disagreeing).
Conservation Partners Program - Outcomes To Date
The 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.
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 650 applications and we have ramped up our capacity to respond to this demand.
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.
To date, the BCT has revolved three properties and is currently in the process of selling another four 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. Grants can assist landholders to maintain the ecological values of their properties. Find out more.
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust is assessing grant applications on an ongoing basis. To date, the Trust has approved grants worth $6.63 million to 349 landholders covering more than 64,400 hectares.
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
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.
To date, the BCT has revolved nine properties and entered funded conservation agreements with the new landholders. The BCT is currently in the process of selling another one properties under the Conservation Management Program.
NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust conservation tenders have so far resulted in 144 conservation agreements covering more than 126,961 hectares of high-conservation value land and ecological assets across the state.
The Trust has completed conservation tenders in the below regions.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 area covered by these agreements contains important wetlands as it is adjacent to the internationally-significant Macquarie Marshes, as well as grassy woodlands that are under threat. Threatened ecological communities in the area include:
- Myall Woodland in the Darling Riverine Plains, Brigalow Belt South, Cobar Peneplain, Murray-Darling Depression, Riverina and NSW South Western Slopes bioregions.
- Inland Grey Box Woodland in the Riverina, NSW South Western Slopes, Cobar Peneplain, Nandewar and Brigalow Belt South Bioregions.
- Poplar Box Grassy Woodland on Alluvial Plains.
- Coolibah-Black Box Woodland in the Darling Riverine Plains, Brigalow Belt South, Cobar Peneplain and Mulga Lands Bioregions.
The area covered by these agreements contains important Koala habitat and includes locally significant, preferred feed trees. By securing koala habitat on private land, the agreements improve connectivity and facilitate movement between formal reserves.
The conservation areas include stands of Robertson Basalt Tall Open-Forest and Southern highlands shale woodlands which are threatened ecological communities, and supports populations of threatened or vulnerable species including: the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), gang gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum), glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami), flame robin (Petroica phoenicea), yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis), soft geebung (Persoonia mollis subsp. revoluta) and Camden woollybutt (Eucalyptus macarthurii).
The Snow Gum Woodlands and Grasslands conservation tender focuses on conserving remnant patches of the following critically endangered ecological communities within the Yass Valley, Goulburn Mulwaree, Queanbeyan Palerang and Upper Lachlan local government areas.
The target communities often occur together and have been identified for investment as they are poorly represented in our reserve system, have been highly cleared, and remain exposed to ongoing threats across much of their range. The woodland communities are dominated by snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) and Candlebark (Eucalyptus rubida) with minimal shrubs, and a continuous ground cover of grasses, non-woody herbs and native wildflowers when in good condition. Natural Temperate Grasslands are predominantly treeless and support a similar range of ground cover plants.
The Plains-wanderer is an endangered bird of the Riverina grasslands for which protection and management of habitat on private land is a key part of species recovery. The Riverina Plains is the largest population of Plains-wanderers in NSW and is the focus of the NSW government’s Saving our Species recovery strategy.
The tender area includes predominantly floodplain vegetation such as River Red Gum forest, Coolibah and River Cooba woodland, Lignum swamps, natural grasslands and chenopod shrublands. Much of the remnant native vegetation in the tender area is a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) or a vegetation type that is extensively cleared. TECs include Coolibah-Black Box woodland, Brigalow woodland, Weeping Myall woodland and natural grasslands such as Mitchell Grass grasslands. This vegetation also forms important habitat for a number of threatened fauna species, particularly wetland dependant bird species. These communities and species are considered high value ecological assets.