Their future in our hands

Tuesday 14 June, 2011

How private conservation is turning the tide on species extinctions

Gecko at Bon Bon Station ReserveSpiny-tailed gecko at Bon Bon Station Reserve. Photograph by Annette Ruzicka

Perched at the northern tip of the Simpson Desert, Bush Heritage's most remote reserves, Cravens Peak and Ethabuka, are home to the richest reptile fauna of any arid region in the world.

Since Bush Heritage purchased the former cattle stations an astounding transformation has occurred. Bush Heritage's careful stewardship has enabled good rains to trigger a stunning recovery of vegetation. And fauna populations are booming in response.

It's stories like these that are behind the findings of a new report, Their future in our hands, produced by Bush Heritage and released during the week of its 20th anniversary.

Budgies at Cravens Peak ReserveBudgerigars at Bob Bon Station Reserve.
Photo by Marcel Hollenbach

Their future in our hands

The report presents key findings from ecological research carried out in our reserves over 20 years, along with case studies from across the continent.

The research has shown that the work we do on behalf of our supporters has significantly reduced the threat of extinction to many of Australia's threatened species.

Vulnerable species such as the yellow-footed rock wallaby, red tailed phascogale, malleefowl and robust greenhood orchid now have a brighter future thanks to Bush Heritage's work, funded by supporters with a passionate concern for the Australian bush.

Featherheads at Cravens Peak ReserveFeatherheads at Cravens Peak Reserve.
Photo by Wayne Lawler /Ecopix

Key Bush Heritage successes

  • 947 500 hectares of bio-diverse land saved from clearing, logging, grazing or mining.
  • 550 000 hectares of poorly protected vegetation protected from clearing.
  • Threats reduced for over 4 700 plant species.
  • Over 830 mammal, bird, reptile and frog species now have higher levels of protection.
  • 73 threatened animal and 92 threatened plant species face a reduced risk of extinction.
  • 14% of all of nationally threatened native mammals are less threatened by extinction.
  • 50% of Australian birds protected in Bush Heritage reserves.

The Bush Heritage model - a proven success

Bush Heritage Australia has developed and honed a simple yet practical model for private conservation – we buy land of outstanding conservation value, then care for it. Forever.

Goanna at Charles Darwin reserveGoanna at Charles Darwin Reserve.
Photo by Marcel Hollenbach

Our reserves are actively managed by skilled staff and volunteers to give native species the best chance to survive and prosper. But we don't act alone. Our publically supported work is done in collaboration with governments, landowners and Indigenous groups.

Over 20 years we have added 947 000 hectares to the national reserve system, doing so with a strategic approach that's designed to achieve the best possible outcomes for flora and fauna conservation.

Around 60% of our reserve area protects ecosystems that have less than 15% of their extent protected in the national reserve system. And a staggering number of Australian species benefit, including 50% of all native bird species and 37% of non-marine mammals.

This represents a significant contribution in just 20 years to ensuring the survival of species in Australia, and shows how private conservation is beginning to turn the tide on species extinctions in this country.

Private conservation making a difference

The Australian bush is tough. It's resilient and adaptable, having evolved in a variable and often extreme climate. With protection and appropriate management - and with your help - it can bounce back. Thanks to thousands of Bush Heritage supporters, just like you, the Australian bush and its unique animals have a brighter future.

Download your copy of Their future in our hands (3.8mb).

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