The rise of private land conservation in Victoria
Landholders from all over Victoria gathered in April (2023) at a stunning wetland property to celebrate the contribution private land conservation makes to protecting our biodiversity.
“Wirra-Lo”, recently featured on ABC TV’s Landline, is a 180-hectare property in Murrabit, near Kerang. Like nearly 2,000 other properties in Victoria, the plants, animals and habitat of this private land are protected forever with a conservation covenant. Wirra-Lo showcases how former farming land can be restored to wetlands booming with wildlife.
The visiting landholders, most of whom manage their own covenanted land, toured the property sharing ideas and solutions to land management issues. Key themes included monitoring threatened species, controlling pest plants and animals, succession planning and working with Traditional Owners.
The event was hosted by Land Covenantors Victoria and landholders Ken and Jill Hooper and supported by the Australian Land Conservation Alliance, Trust for Nature, the North Central Catchment Management Authority, Wetland Revival Trust and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of NSW.
Fiona Murdoch from Land Covenantors Victoria said the day was an opportunity for covenantors from across the state to come together, share experiences and learn from each other.
“It was wonderful to meet so many inspiring individuals and to explore just one of the many incredible conservation properties that are a biodiverse legacy for future generations.”
“We know that well supported and connected landholders are the best advocates to encourage more people to protect and manage land for biodiversity. So this is the first of many LCV events to inspire this growing movement,” said Fiona.
The Victorian celebration follows a series of landholder forums coordinated by the Australian Land Conservation Alliance in NSW and South Australia. Nigel Jones representing ALCA said:
“Bringing together organisations and people who protect and manage private land for conservation is our main goal, and this event has done that beautifully. Starting with a Welcome to Country from Uncle Ricky Kirby, and finishing with a delicious lunch, there was ample time for landholders to meet, swap ideas and learn about each other’s conservation properties in different regions.”
In 2022, Australia joined 100 other countries in committing to protect 30% of our land and water by 2030. The rise of private land conservation forms a critical element to achieve this goal. In Victoria, protecting and managing private land for biodiversity already contributes around 75,000 hectares to our protected area network.
Land Covenantors Victoria was formed in 2021 as an independent, not-for-profit, member-driven organisation that supports and advocates for all Victorian landholders who have a conservation covenant on their land to protect biodiversity. Membership is free and both covenantors and “friends” can join (from our home page).