I wrote last newsletter of the global financial crisis and its likely effects. Now, several months in, I can report that we're tracking well in the circumstances, but your continued support is critical.
Billy buttons and heath, Ethabuka Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
We're a robust organisation, thanks to our supporters and partners, and we're performing very well against our short-term conservation targets for the 2007–2011 period. Our acquisition goal was to secure ten additional reserves totalling 1 million hectares – to date, we've already purchased nine reserves totalling 334 357 hectares.
We have more than exceeded our partnership target – which was to partner with a further ten landowners on their properties totalling at least 750 000 hectares. In fact, we've developed initial partnerships across ten properties totalling 2.5m hectares. This is no small feat and we recognise, in particular, the work of our Indigenous Programs team.
Our BioPrep program, working to identify the most important landscapes for conservation, is also going well. Two of our priority regions have already been examined, and the remaining priority regions will be analysed over the next 12 months. This will provide us with additional information about the presence of rare or threatened species and the likelihood of future threats, and will aid us in our reserve management planning as well as in our future acquisition and partnership development.
Our work to fund these conservation outcomes, while impacted bv the global financial crisis, continues apace and Bush Heritage continues to be increasingly associated with high conservation outcomes.
However, we have been affected by the current financial landscape, and we have to restrain our ambitions for growth in the short to medium term. Year-to-date income to the end of February 08/09 is running at about the same level as for the same period to the end of February 07/08 (for simplicity, large land acquisition funds have been removed from the equation) and we're very grateful for the ongoing support of our donors in these difficult times.
Your support has enabled us to hold our teams together and keep working towards our long-term conservation goals.
We will therefore focus in the short term on those of our 2011 goals against which we have already made significant progress: maintaining our existing reserves and partnerships.
Your continued financial support is critical so our conservation activity doesn’t slip back. Should you be interested in helping in a more hands-on way, please view our website or register for our volunteer newsletter for information on volunteer opportunities both out on our reserves and in our Conservation Support Centre in Melbourne.
Finally, with Victoria devastated by February’s fires and Queensland by prolonged flooding, our thoughts extend to all those who've suffered losses during the extreme conditions Australia has faced over recent months.
Doug Humann, CEO