Vision & purpose

Last updated 16 Jan 2018 

We're a national not-for-profit conservation organisation committed to returning Australia’s bush to good health. We do this by carefully selecting, buying and then managing land of outstanding conservation value.

We also work in a collaborative, supportive and respectful way with others on their land, including with Aboriginal groups, pastoralists, private land owners, non-government and government organisations.

Our vision: Healthy Country, protected forever

Our vision for Australia is one of healthy and resilient Country, where native plants and animals, people and culture are valued and protected for the benefit of nature itself, and for current and future generations. On Wunambal Gaambera country, in the spectacular northern Kimberley region of Western Australia, this vision is becoming a reality.

About 800,000 hectares of Wunambal Gaambera country have been dedicated as Indigenous Protected Area.
About 800,000 hectares of Wunambal Gaambera country have been dedicated as Indigenous Protected Area.
The partnership between Bush Heritage and the Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation began in 2008 when we contributed our expertise in conservation planning to the drafting of the Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan for Uunguu, meaning ‘our living home’.

The plan, which was developed with Traditional Owners, was launched in 2011 and was widely recognised as setting the bar for best practice conservation and cultural management planning of native title lands and waters. Following the launch, a 10-year agreement was struck confirming that Bush Heritage would provide support for the implementation of the plan.

That support currently includes funding a Healthy Country Manager who helps oversee management activities on country, as well as providing funding for ‘right-way fire’, and feral animal and weed control programs. In this way, we're contributing to the protection of one of the most biologically intact ecosystems in the world.

Antilopine Kangaroo in Livistona Palm dominated woodland. Photo Sally Vigilante.
Antilopine Kangaroo in Livistona Palm dominated woodland. Photo Sally Vigilante.
Recently, a mid-term review of the Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan was published in the journal Environmental Management and Restoration. The results of that review confirm the remarkable progress that's been made so far. Of the 10 Healthy Country Targets identified (right-way fire, kangaroos and other animals, rainforest, waterholes, bush plants, rock art, fish and other seafoods, turtles and dugongs, cultural places on islands, and Wanjina Wunggurr Law), most targets were found to be increasing in health.

Right-way fire in particular has been broadly implemented, resulting in a significant reduction in damaging wildfires across Wunambal Gaambera country. But it is the Wunambal Gaambera people’s commitment to their plan, and their vision for their people and country, that's having the biggest impact on its success.

Our purpose: To return the bush to good health

We work with others to manage and enhance millions of hectares of ecologically important land across Australia. We re-build nature’s resilience as a provider of habitats, fresh water, healthy soil, plant pollination, nutrients and carbon storage to sustain life into the future. On Boolcoomatta Reserve, in South Australia, the effectiveness of this approach is evident.

The Boolcoomatta landscape, looking to the Olary Ranges. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
The Boolcoomatta landscape, looking to the Olary Ranges. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
When Bush Heritage took over management of Boolcoomatta in 2006, the South Australian government had identified the bioregion in which it sits as the highest priority for protection in the state.

Despite having been run as a sheep station for over 150 years, this 64,000 hectare property retained well-conserved areas of saltbush plains, ephemeral wetlands and streams. It's also home to six threatened vegetation communities and at least 23 threatened plant and animal species.

In the years since, Bush Heritage’s management of Boolcoomatta has focused on restoring the landscape’s natural ability to support these native plants and animals. We've removed dams and levees to re-establish the natural flow of water through the landscape.

A Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby on Boolcoomatta. Photo Janet Gardner.
A Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby on Boolcoomatta. Photo Janet Gardner.
We've removed sheep and undertaken soil works to improve soil quality and halt erosion. We've connected with the local community to implement regional control programs for invasive weeds, feral goats, cats, foxes and rabbits. And we've developed a relationship with the Adnyamathanha people, who cared for this country for over 40,000 years, seeking their advice on reserve management activities, and providing open access to the land.

Now, Boolcoomatta is returning to good health. This year, both male and female Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies have been seen on the reserve – the first time there have been regular sightings of this threatened species on Boolcoomatta in over 90 years.

Their resurgence, after becoming almost locally extinct as recently as 1981, is the result of a collaborative regional conservation effort involving pastoralists, governments, and conservation organisations including Bush Heritage. We’re also finding more evidence of Plains-wanderers (one of Australia’s most endangered birds) on the reserve, and seeing striking natural regeneration of the mulga woodlands, which will benefit even more bird species. All this, after just 11 years of being managed for conservation, shows what's possible with the right approach.

If you'd like a full copy of our constitution, please contact us.

 
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