LCV hosts visit by Japanese expert on conservation covenants

Dr Keiji Akutsu has just returned home to Tokyo after almost three weeks in Australia, much of his itinerary organised by LCV.

A meticulous environmental economist and lawyer, he has long been very interested in finding ways to protect biodiversity on private land. This has led him to a year’s study in Britain, and visits to Germany, New Zealand and Australia – third time in Victoria and New South Wales now.

Keiji shared some of his insights into the conservation of private land:

“It is exciting to see the development process of covenanting programs in Australia.

Conservation covenants began as a simple voluntary tool to engage with conservation-minded landowners, and more recently have been incorporated into innovative schemes such as biodiversity offsets or investments in private land conservation.

One of the key issues in managing covenanting programs is the generational change of covenanters (landowners); while covenants are often made in perpetuity, we cannot live eternally.

LCV represents the unity of covenanters; this can be a key factor in the context of smooth succession and sustainable management of the covenanted land."

And the visit ... after several days in Canberra, which included the annual Private Land Conservation conference PLC23, he arrived in Victoria, dined with LCV chair Peter Mulherin, and immediately spent two days on the road with Rob Youl (who has several contacts within Japanese Landcare) visiting privately owned bushland and grassland and meeting landowners at Berringa, Chepstowe, Mt Lonarch, St Arnaud and Pine Lodge (Mitiamo area).

At Pine Lodge he walked through the black box and red gum woodland with Damien Saunders, a Yorta Yorta man, and LCV’s Peter Morison. Later, he called in at the shared Kyneton office of Cassinia Environmental and Odonata Foundation for useful discussions.

Following a day of metropolitan meetings, he headed to Noojee and then Toora Beach on Corner Inlet, hosted by LCV’s Penny Richards and Diana Droog, looking at ecosystems from montane forests to mangroves, and also familiarised himself with regional Landcare activities. After some private travel along the Great Ocean Road, and a walk around Westgate Park at Fishermans Bend, Keiji returned to Tokyo.

LCV is delighted to have hosted Dr Akutsu, his unique experiences make him an expert in this vital field. We look forward to hearing more of his experiences and ideas to grow the private land conservation movement.

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