Role of Private Conservation
In 2009, just 8.4 per cent – around 6.7 million hectares – of NSW was contained within protected areas, ranging from national parks and World Heritage sites to nature reserves. That leaves the bulk of the State, and a large percentage of its threatened native plants and animal habitats, in the hands of private land managers.
An unprecedented decline in biodiversity
As NSW and indeed the entire country faces an unprecedented decline in biodiversity, it is no longer enough to rely on public reserves for wildlife conservation. The Nature Conservation Trust (NCT) of NSW decided almost a decade ago that new mechanisms were needed to encourage private land owners to protect the unique plant and animal communities with which they share our land – species at increasing risk from climate change and habitat loss.
The NCT is advocating nature conservation as a legitimate and vital use of private land.
By encouraging private land owners to manage their properties under a voluntary NCT conservation agreement, the NCT is giving them the opportunity to play their part in biodiversity protection now and forever. It not only provides immediate environmental benefits but important social benefits to our society as a whole.
Safeguarding, in perpetuity, the natural attributes of the high conservation land they hold dear puts private land managers at the forefront of conservation in Australia. The very future of some of our most threatened animal and plant species depends on their passion, commitment and practical land management skills.