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Natural capital in agriculture

We work with farmers and other land managers to increase biodiversity on agricultural land for a more sustainable future.

With 58% of Australia used for agricultural production, we’re exploring how to protect more of the landscape. Our approach is to partner with willing farmers to achieve conservation outcomes.

Our 2030 Strategy sets the goal of deepening and doubling our impact, with the ambitious target of having an influence over 10 million hectares of agricultural land.

Harvesting bluegrass seeds at Carnarvon Station Reserve, Bidjara country, Qld. Photo by Krystle Wright.

Our 3 focus areas

Leaves graphic1. Environmental services

Such as preparation of natural capital accounts, land management advice on fire, weed and integrated feral predator management.

Growing trees graphic2. Biodiverse carbon capture

Using our experience on and off reserves to help landholders explore biodiverse carbon capture opportunities.

Hand growing graphic3. Natural products

Supporting the development of natural products (e.g. sustainable seed harvesting) that could diversify revenue to invest in conservation.

Farm-scale projects:

Tasmanian Midlands

The woodlands and grassy lowland plains of the Tasmanian Midlands are a national biodiversity hotspot, ecologically distinct from other areas of Tasmania. Yet less than 10% of the original native grasslands and 30% of all native vegetation remains, much of it on privately owned farms.

In collaboration with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy we’ve been working with farmers in the midlands for over 10 years, using a fund that provides stewardship payments to farmers in return for conserving biodiversity. Conservation now has a place on the farm balance sheet!

More on farm-scale conservation in the Midlands >

Bush Heritage ecologist Matt Appleby with Midlands farmer Valerie Le Maitre. Photo Amelia Caddy.

Agricultural partnerships:

Integrated Vegetation Condition

In partnership with Climate Friendly, we’ve developed a method, accredited by Accounting for Nature, of measuring the condition of vegetation. We can apply this on farms to produce evidence for agricultural impact investors and to certify biodiverse carbon capture.

We’re in the process of expanding the method to monitor vegetation conditions on large rangeland properties with carbon projects (>10,000 ha) using satellite, drone, LiDAR and field data. Multispectral cameras can detect tree canopies along with tree height, species and density information. Combined with field data and spatial maps, we can accurately verify and monitor carbon storage and vegetation condition at scale.

Aerial view of creek at Naree. Photo Justin McCann.

Farm-scale Natural Capital Accounting

A national program, in partnership with Macdoch Foundation and La Trobe University helping farmers to measure natural capital assets on their farms.

A team of ecologists and other conservation experts are collecting data about biodiversity on 50 participating farms in Victoria. The team is then developing accounting protocols to deliver accounts of natural capital on the properties. Interest is building in the supply chain and finance sectors.

Webinar with Dr Jim Radford (La Trobe University) >

Illustration of production and capital movement on a working farm.

On reserve projects:

Biodiverse carbon capture

We use learnings from restoration work and subsequent carbon trade projects on our reserves to advise other local projects. 

  • The Eurardy Carbon Planting Project in WA is improving biodiversity in the understory of carbon plantings.
  • At Nardoo Hills in Victoria the Nardoo Climate Ready Project is providing learnings on how to approach restoration and carbon capture in a changing climate.
  • On our Hamelin Reserve we’re working on a carbon project in partnership with the Malgana and Nhanda people.
  • Native species have returned to what were once bare paddocks on Monjebup North Reserve in south-west, WA - a template for successful ecological restoration in the area.
Restoration site at Eurardy Reserve.

Harvesting Bluegrass seed

Native Bluegrass grasslands at Carnarvon Reserve in Queensland occupy under 600 ha but provide crucial habitat. As Bluegrass typically grows on fertile country, it’s often replaced by agricultural crops. Under climate change modelling, areas suitable for this native grass are expected to shrink further.

We're harvesting Bluegrass seed to sell to local landowners, graziers and mines undertaking offset work. This creates a sustainable, minimal-impact income stream for Carnarvon Reserve and more healthy native grasslands.

More on Bluegrass harvesting >

Native Bluegrass seeds at Carnarvon Reserve. Photo Krystle Wright.