From the President - heading to Melbourne

Thursday 21 December, 2006

On any measure, this has been an extraordinary 12 months for Bush Heritage. Whether we look at the area of land conserved, the number of species protected, staff and volunteers employed for conservation work or research partners engaged, amount of income received or level of exposure in the media, we've made remarkable progress.

Thank you for making this possible. It would not have happened without your support.

Grassland earless dragon, a species we hope to find at Scottsdale. Photo Peter Robertson / Wildlife profilesGrassland earless dragon, a species we hope to find at Scottsdale. Photo Peter Robertson / Wildlife profiles.

Climate change and global warming are finally coming to public attention. Bush Heritage and our supporters are playing an important role in addressing climate change. By protecting healthy ecosystems we prevent them from being cleared or developed and releasing their stored carbon. As ecosystems recover on our reserves, atmospheric carbon dioxide is being captured in the regrowing bush.

As we continue to protect more of Australia’s diverse ecosystems we're providing species with habitats into which they can move as conditions around them deteriorate. The more land we can protect, the easier it will be for species to adapt to the changes.

Preparing for the consequences of climate change is a critical part of Bush Heritage's Anchors in the Landscape conservation strategy.* As we work towards protecting more than 1% of Australia by 2025 we'll be targeting landscapes where ecosystems and species are highly threatened and poorly reserved. These areas are often of great importance as drought refuges or refuelling areas for migratory species.

Larger reserves, which can extend over a number of latitudes, as well as clusters of smaller reserves, are more effective than isolated small reserves as buffers against the impacts of climate change.

The diversity and continuity of their habitats allow species to move long distances in safety as conditions change. The purchase of Ethabuka and Cravens Peak reserves, which protect nearly 450 000 hectares (more than a million acres), provides this secure environment over a vast area.

Bush Heritage is also involved with others in conducting cutting-edge science that relates directly to climate change. We'll report on this next year.

In November the Bush Heritage Board approved a plan that will see more landscapes and vulnerable species protected. In the past 12 months the Board has undertaken a major review of its role and operations and identified four new directors who will help to make vital strategic decisions in the financial and business areas.

We welcome Alexis Wright, a member of the Waanyi people of the southern highlands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, who has worked extensively with government and Aboriginal agencies; Keith Tuffley, Head of Investment Banking and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs JBWere, who has over 15 years' experience in investment banking; Hutch Ranck, Managing Director of DuPont Australia/New Zealand and member of the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council and the Business Roundtable on Sustainable Development; and David Rickards, who heads up the equities research group at Macquarie Bank and coordinates a team based throughout Australia, Asia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The Board farewelled and thanked retiring directors Janice Carpenter, Libby Smith and Brian Whelan, who've each served with distinction over two three-year terms. At the Annual General Meeting I was re-elected President for another term, and Steve Morton was elected Vice-President.

Other continuing directors are Mara BĂșn, Guy Fitzhardinge and Louise Gilfedder. Information about all our directors is available on the website.

Phillip Toyne's signature 

Phillip Toyne, President

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