In the face of threats from climate change, dedicated protected areas are becoming more important than ever.
Whether they be Indigenous, government or privately-owned, these places are the bush’s safety net. They will provide refuge to our native species when they find their current habitats no longer suit them.
In ‘Fit for the future’, we look at why Bush Heritage’s Yourka Reserve, a dedicated ‘nature refuge’ on the edge of Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, has been identified as ‘climate change refugia’ of the highest importance for conservation, and what we’re doing to keep it healthy.
Protected areas also play a critical role in safeguarding strongholds – habitats that support strong populations of threatened or sensitive species. Wunambal Gaambera country, in the northern Kimberley region of Western Australia, is a stronghold for many species. ‘Refuge in the Kimberley’ explores how the work that Uunguu Rangers are doing to look after their cultural values is also helping to maintain wider habitat health.
As award-winning author Nikki Gemmell reminds us in her article ‘Sanctuary of solace’, there are other, less tangible reasons for ensuring the bush is protected forever.
“The city stresses wash from you like grime, and your soul unfurls,” she writes of her arrival at Bush Heritage’s Liffey Valley reserves in northern Tasmania. Her words speak to the fact that humans need nature; it calms our mind, alleviates stress and generally increases wellbeing.
Our protected areas can only ever be as secure as the law allows. In March this year, Queensland became the first state in Australia to offer national park-level legal protections to private land. This is something Bush Heritage has long advocated for, and we've already begun the process of having one of our reserves assessed under the new ‘special wildlife reserves’ category.
The stories in this newsletter highlight the importance of ensuring these special places are protected forever and shed light on what could happen if they aren’t.
Thank you, as always, for your interest, support and love of the bush.
Heather Campbell, Chief Executive.