The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) is supporting private landholders to permanently protect important ecosystems through a partnership with Trust for Nature. About 100 km north west of Shepparton, Victoria, the Patho Plains are home to important grassland ecosystems, which provide critical habitat for a multitude of bird species, including the critically endangered Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus), one of the rarest bird species on the planet.
Private landholders interested in establishing conservation covenants on their land will receive an incentive payment. In other words, landholders can secure critical parts of their properties for long-term conservation, providing a haven for grassland ecosystems and habitat for the species that rely on them.
“Lowland grasslands of south-eastern Australia are among the nation’s most threatened and poorly conserved ecosystems,“ Alison Rowe, TNC’s Managing Director, said. “In Victoria, as little as 1% of the pre-European settlement grasslands remain.”
Because the Plains-wanderer is a ground-nesting grassland bird, it has suffered massive habitat loss as its native grasslands have been converted into urban and cropping areas. It has also suffered devastating predation from introduced carnivores such as foxes, dogs, and cats, reducing its numbers to an estimated 500 left in the wild. Protecting its habitat is urgent and critical.
Australia has more than 5,000 privately protected areas and has the largest area of land under this arrangement in the world. Together with Indigenous Protected Areas, national parks and nature reserves, they play an important role in the protection of Australian landscapes and biodiversity.
“Trust for Nature’s private protected area program is an important part of Australia’s effort to protect its unique fauna and flora, and contributes to our global 30 x 30 conservation targets. Typically, grasslands are still underrepresented within protected areas despite the vital role they play for so many of our unique species. Private protected areas allow for better diversity of the ecosystems protected and support local communities to remain connected to nature. Importantly, they also connect other protected areas, allowing species under stress to move to more favourable areas,” Ms Rowe said.
Trust for Nature CEO, Corinne Proske said, “With this funding we will build on collaborations already occurring to protect grassland for the critically endangered Plains-wanderer, working with Traditional Owners and co-investment partners Country Road and The Nature Conservancy to ensure species like this unique bird survive long into the future. By bringing together private donors, investors and the state and federal government, we can achieve even greater conservation outcomes.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.