In Bush Heritage News, Winter 2007, I wrote about our strategic approach to both buying land and developing partnerships, and the success that we've had with both.
These exciting activities allow us to acquire, manage and safeguard land and water of the greatest importance for protecting our biodiversity. Being strategic about where we work and carefully selecting the properties that we protect or manage with others are critical to our long-term effectiveness.
Over the years we've been developing a more science-based approach, using the growing body of information on Australia’s ecology, the collective experience of our ecologists, field staff and research partners, and the data emerging from the reserves themselves.
As a result we now have well-developed techniques for managing conservation land. And we are developing a new tool to assist us. The Bush Heritage Ecological Outcomes Monitoring program is breaking new ground in improving our understanding of the Australian landscape and how our actions affect it, either positively or negatively.
It represents the first attempt in Australia to find a simple, repeatable and reliable way of measuring environmental health over time and thus learning how the land and its wildlife respond to land-management activities.
If we, as managers of conservation areas, can better understand the direct relationship between our management actions and the benefits they bring to the land and its animals and plants, we can use this information to improve our management strategies and report back on the progress we're making.
The National Reserve System Programme had its 10th anniversary in June. The Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, described it as ‘one of Australia’s proudest conservation achievements’.
Bush Heritage is a strong supporter of the program, which has bipartisan political support and is widely lauded here and overseas. We've been associated with it since its inception, acquiring one of the first private reserves funded by the program and also developing one of its first partnerships with farmers and the state government in Tasmania.
The $2 of government funding provided for every $1 that our supporters give has meant that many properties have been protected that otherwise could not have been. I know this government contribution is very encouraging for our supporters. Thirteen reserves, and from every state, have received funding from the program.
The National Reserve System Programme deserves still more government support as it delivers arguably the most cost-effective and efficient means of conserving biodiversity in Australia.
There are two additional strategies that Bush Heritage is developing that will be of interest to you. An Indigenous Engagement Strategy will increase our collaboration with Indigenous Australians. And we have set a target of the year 2010 to be operating in an environmentally sustainable manner across all our activities.
The Bush Heritage journey continues to be a wonderful ride, with so much to look forward to. I thank you for joining us on the journey and supporting Bush Heritage in whatever way you can.
Doug Humann, CEO