Why we need to purchase land
While our preference is always to work with existing landholders to achieve our ecological targets, sometimes the changes needed are often just too massive to achieve through the largesse of any one landholder, or group of landholders, particularly farmers. It is unfair to expect farmers to carry the main burden of achieving landscapes that meet 21st century sustainability and ecological resilience standards, when their property boundaries and areas were designed in the 1950’s or earlier. So alongside programs of incentives and other support, a number of the groups and individuals supporting Gondwana Link have raised funds to purchase, restore and manage strategically placed properties.
It can be expensive, both buying the properties in the first place, then funding their restoration and management. However there are some clear benefits to owning a property. These include:
- the ability to permanently secure critical habitat and other ecological features;
- the opportunity to restore and manage to high order ecological specifications;
- the ability to set up long term study and monitoring plots; and
- the potential for demonstrating conservation management to neighbours and other parties.
Having seen the establishment of a number of restored properties, we are now working with proposals that would see more integrated approaches to restoring ecological resilience at landscape scale while increasing food and fibre production. This includes a program of agro-forestry and work with investors on agro-ecological systems.
How we help
To help get Gondwana Link started Keith and Amanda specialised in finding critically important properties and negotiating purchase for conservation use. We ‘fondly’ remember standing in cold windswept paddocks hammering out the best possible deal for all, the generosity and courage of early donors, and the joy of walking through recently purchased bush and finding stands of endemic eucalypts (like the red flowered Corackerup Moort on Nowanup) or being startled by wallabies scurrying about. With groups like Bush Heritage, Greening Australia and Carbon Neutral now owning and managing a number of purchased properties, and doing their own negotiations, we have specialised in keeping tabs on what properties are available across the Link, and helping potential conservation buyers. Often farmers contact us before putting their properties on the open market, and more than once we have been able to connect keen buyers with willing sellers. Our mapping systems are also very useful in analysing the inherent and strategic worth of particular properties. Some more strategic roles have emerged for us in recent years, such as find a greater place for connectivity and ecological values in Government planning policies and working through with some talented entrepreneurs how ‘multiple owner’ purchases could proceed.
What groups and some special people do
To quote our friend Peter Luscombe ‘nothing works better for conservation than a good cheque book’. It was Eddy and Donna Wajon who secured the first two properties purchased specifically to help achieve Gondwana Link, followed closely by Bush Heritage, and Greening Australia, and now Carbon Neutral, who now own over 9588 ha of high value land between them. Donors have been the mainstay, with a number of the group purchases getting additional funding support from the National Reserve System program, and a couple through carbon investment funding.
We build on the efforts of many good people, with some conservation purchases predating us, such as Peter and Suzy Luscombe’s Caladenia Hill, north of the Porongurups, and Friends of Porongurups who ran an inspiring local campaign fundraising to purchase the critically important Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve (again with help from the National Reserves System). Then there are the latest heroes to arrive Bill and Jane Thompson at Yarraweyah Falls.
Please contact us if you are interested in investing in a conservation property that helps us achieve Gondwana Link.