Partnering in Private Land Conservation

Landcare NSW is working in partnership with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to raise awareness of biodiversity conservation and support private landholders in their conservation efforts across the state.

Landcare NSW and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) are working with regional Landcare networks to raise awareness and support private land conservation efforts across the state.

A co-managed and community-guided program, Partnering in Private Land Conservation Program aims to work collaboratively to build understanding and skills regarding biodiversity, educate private landholders on conservation efforts, and increase participation in private land conservation.

The 2-and-a-half-year program will build on, and further, the successful work already undertaken by the NSW Landcare community and the strength of partnerships and understanding of the importance of biodiversity at a grass roots level.

Key objectives of the project include:

  • Building understanding and capacity between the BCT and local Landcare groups to complement each other’s knowledge and skills and plan how to work together.
  • Building biodiversity conservation knowledge with landholders through communication and education initiatives. This will be delivered through grant funding to eligible groups who wish to participate.
  • Increase the participation of landholders in private land conservation programs.

REGIONAL LANDCARE NETWORKS PROJECTS

Across the state, Regional Landcare Networks have been funded to develop networking, education and communication activities with private landholders. These projects will build understanding of private land conservation and increase opportunities for regional Landcare and BCT staff and volunteers to meet and share their knowledge and skills.

Private landholders will be provided with opportunities to network, participate in education and training activities and share their stories of conservation on their own land.

Current and upcoming regional projects are summarised below.

Please contact Landcare NSW or your regional Landcare Network for more information on how to participate.

Mid Coast to Tops: Conservation on Private Land

On the Mid Coast of NSW, there is no shortage of engaged landholders, hoping to manage their property for biodiversity value. This project will enable Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection to provide these landholders with the ongoing support and resources they need to effectively engage with existing programs, designed to support conservation on private land. Through the appointment of a Conservation on Private Lands Project Officer, Mid Coast 2 Tops hopes to connect with previously engaged landholders and revitalise the community of practice between conservation minded landholders of the Mid Coast.

North Coast: Conservation Together – linking private conservation landholders to connect, share and learn

The North Coast has a strong private land conservation movement that achieves excellent outcomes for wildlife habitat protection, connectivity and regeneration – all key Landcare objectives.
Connecting landholders – including Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) agreement holders – to Landcare networks is likely to significantly increase their knowledge, skills and technical capacity to deliver best practice conservation. This project will build on the collaborative partnerships through co-design with the BCT and through engaging with relevant local Landcare networks and other local experts to contribute input to networking, learning events and communicating stories about landholder journeys in private land conservation.

Greater Sydney: Increasing landholder knowledge and participation in private land conservation across Greater Sydney

A new Landcare Project Officer will be liaising with landholders involved in Biodiversity Conservation Trust programs, and others currently undertaking conservation on private land in Sydney’s Glenorie and Camden/ Cobbitty areas. These areas are targeted for peer-to-peer learning events between private landholders. Case studies will be developed for ongoing educational purposes. A supportive umbrella Landcare network will be a targeted outcome for the southwest component of the project, with help from the Cattai Hills Environment Network, as major project partner and lead for the Glenorie area.

North-West: Private Land Conservation: The Conservation for My Land and Family

Over the next 12 months the North-West Private Land Conservation Project will deliver a range of activities themed on biodiversity and land conservation practice. The types of activities and topics will be based on advice from Landholders’ that already hold a formal conservation agreement.

The project will provide:
1. The opportunity for everybody to participate in social groups sharing an interest in biodiversity
2. Skills and knowledge for landholders managing biodiversity in productive landscapes
3. Connections between existing conservation agreement holders
4. Stories told by landholders about their experience of biodiversity conservation

Murray: Connecting Private Land Conservation Project

An exciting series of community events will be held across the Murray throughout 2022 to celebrate and investigate private land conservation in our region. The local landcare groups in partnership with the Murray Riverina BCT team will host guided tours of farms with significant biodiversity projects and showcase the ways enhancing biodiversity benefits your farm business and local environment. No two events will be the same with a wide range of site visits, networking, guest speakers, hands-on fun, peer-to-peer learning and sharing opportunities planned.

New England: Protecting New England Biodiversity

The protecting New England Biodiversity project has a major focus of building awareness and capacity between the BCT and Private Land Conservation holders and Landcare. The project aims to complement each other’s knowledge and skills via communication and education initiatives to increase the participation of landholders in private land conservation programs in the New England Region.

Riverina: Enhancing conservation understanding and engagement in the Riverina

Across the Riverina region we will deliver a series of workshops/field days to educate landholders on conservation topics. The project will be run in collaboration with the BCT, local Landcare groups and other partners supporting information sharing on conservation and private land conservation including opportunities available through the BCT. The activities will be open to BCT agreement holders, Landcare members, and landholders interested in conservation on their properties. Through the project, we hope to develop case study reports, interviews and/or videos to showcase the stories of successful conservation on farms in our region.

Central West: Protecting Precious Patches

Protecting Precious Patches in the Central West region aims at educating, enhancing & supporting Biodiversity conservation in the region. This project will target specific areas where biodiversity management actions are already in place and match those to the Local Landcare group and local coordinator’s on ground knowledge to create purposeful events which will grow awareness and build skill sets. At completion the project will have engaged the wider community, enhance landholder knowledge base and build & strengthen the Landcare and BCT relationship in the region.

South East: Improving knowledge and regional support of the Biodiversity Conservation Trust in the South East Landcare Region.

South East Landcare is working with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust to increase support for landowners wanting to protect and enhance the biodiversity on their properties.
Activities funded include
• Regional workshops to Improving the mutual Understanding of Landcare and the BCT, to improve Landcare’s understanding of BCT programs and to promote strategies for working together.
• Support existing conservation network hubs and invest in emerging information hubs, the locations and the issue focus will be guided by interest across the region.
• Landcare-run field days and events aimed at both private landowners and landcare volunteers;
• Prepare and publish case studies and social media posts on Landcare and Landholder experiences with private land conservation.

Central Tablelands: Building Connections for Biodiversity in the Central Tablelands Region

The essence of this project is to strengthen landholder connections and increase awareness of the value of biodiversity. In particular, why it is critical to restore, enhance and conserve it; and to acknowledge the beneficial outcomes through coexistence of farming and biodiversity: raising the awareness of the various ecosystem services that can be generated as a result.

The project adopts a Community of Practice approach, to showcase and celebrate the work of landholders through a series of field days: fostering peer-to-peer learning and support from local biodiversity “champions” who are keen to share their experiences. Educational resources across a range of media will also be co-designed and shared that will be based on locally identified themes. The project is informed by ecological design principles that support and embrace reciprocal relationships between people and place.

Western: Learning from Biodiversity Conservation in the Rangelands

Coming soon

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Private Land Conservation?

Private land conservation occurs where a private landholder manages some or all of their land for biodiversity, nature or wildlife conservation purposes. In NSW, a landholder can enter into a private land conservation agreement, which forms part of the National Reserve System. Depending on the type of agreement and type of land they can access funding and resources from the government (specifically the Biodiversity Conservation Trust) and non-government organisations for different types of management activities.

2. What is the Biodiversity Conservation Trust?

The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) is an NSW Government statutory body that sits under the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The BCT enters into agreements with landholders to protect areas of their land for conservation as well as support conservation in the form of technical support and, in some cases, annual or grant funding. We also have a role in supporting the offsets scheme. See here for a video describing BCT’s work and to find out more about the BCT visit https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/

3. Why is Landcare involved in this partnership?

NSW Landcarers are leaders in biodiversity conservation activities across NSW. Landcare NSW partners with organisations whose objectives align with Landcare in NSW. These are then shared with our network as optional opportunities to engage in. This increases the support Landcarers can provide to our environment and community.

Landcare groups work with private landholders across the state to support them in biodiversity conservation activities. By developing partnerships with other organisations whose objectives align with Landcare in NSW, our community can benefit from diverse skills, experiences and opportunities for private landholders and the wider NSW Landcare community.

NSW Landcare groups have worked on private land conservation projects with the BCT in different ways since it was established in 2017, and with the Nature Conservation Trust prior to 2017. This partnership builds on that relationship and expands it to some regions and networks who are only beginning to explore Biodiversity Conservation Agreements in their community. This partnership will help Landcare to grow its connections with private landholders including those who are part of the BCT network and ensure these landholders have the best, local advice on conservation available to them.

4. What is the expected knowledge of private land conservation agreements and the BCT?

There are many opportunities and activities private landholders may wish to undertake to support both biodiversity and production on their land. Through this project, Landcare Coordinators may be asked questions about these options.

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) is the key NSW body in this space, offering a range of agreements for landholders with accompanying technical support, and in many cases, annual funding or financial support in the form of grants. With this range of agreements comes varying complexities, and Landcare is not expected or equipped to answer specific questions about the BCT’s programs but may be a first point of contact for a landholder to then learn from other landholders or connect with an expert.

We encourage coordinators to connect interested landholders with the resources available on the BCT’s website, and to connect landholders with the regional contact/s at the BCT to discuss the opportunities they have on offer. General resources to assist in your understanding of BCT opportunities include: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/general-resources and this decision tool for BCT agreements.

5. How does private land conservation work in NSW?

The BCT is a statutory not-for-profit body established under Part 10 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 which began operating on 25 August 2017.

The role of the BCT is to promote and support private landholders in conserving and managing biodiversity on their land.

BCT does this through agreements, funding and grants such as:

Conservation Management Program
If a landholder’s property is in a high priority area, they can apply for a funded conservation agreement by participating in the fixed price offer or conservation tenders. Landholders identify an area on their land to be actively managed for conservation and receive annual conservation management payments for agreed management activities. More information here.

Conservation Partners Program
Landholders can enter into voluntary agreements with the BCT. Landholders identify an area on their land to be conserved for biodiversity conservation and can apply for grants to undertake conservation management activities. More information here.

Biodiversity Offsets Program

Landholders wishing to generate and sell biodiversity credits can enter into a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement with the BCT. Landholders receive annual payments for carrying out conservation management actions on the site. Landholders may sell their biodiversity credits to developers, the BCT (which secures offsets on behalf of developers who choose to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund) or to any other third party. More information here.

The partnership between Landcare NSW and the BCT will assist Landcare groups across the state to better understand these agreements and work with our partners in the BCT. See here for a video on the importance of BCT’s work. For any more information on Private Land Conservation can be found on BCT’s website: www.bct.nsw.gov.au. To learn more about the project, contact Landcare NSW or your local BCT staff member.

6. What are the objectives of this partnership?

Landcare NSW and the BCT will be partnering to raise awareness and support private land conservation efforts across NSW. This partnership aims to support collaboration between BCT regional staff and local Landcare groups across the state. The BCT recognises that Landcare has been mobilising locals and taking action on a range of issues for decades and has significant skills, expertise, and local knowledge that align with our common objectives.

There are three project objectives:

• Building understanding and capacity between the BCT and local Landcare groups to complement each    other’s knowledge and skills and plan how to work together.
• Building biodiversity conservation knowledge with landholders through communication and education initiatives. This will be delivered through grant funding to eligible groups who wish to participate.
• Increase the participation of landholders in private land conservation programs.

7. What will Regional Landcare and Local Landcare Organisations be doing?

Regional Landcare networks have been funded to coordinate private land conservation networking, education and communication activities across their regions.

Activities have been co-designed by Landcare and Biodiversity Conservation Trust in order to complement each other’s knowledge and skills and plan how to work together to support private land conservation.

Activities will be coordinated by regional Landcare groups who may employ a private land conservation coordinator or support local landcare groups to run activities in their areas.

Four initiatives have been identified as part of this partnership:

1. Building understanding
o Ongoing regional co-design and partnership review
2. Local Networks and clusters of Agreement holders for support
– Organise local networks to enable landholders to develop knowledge, obtain peer support, with the aim of connecting and supporting landholders in their private land conservation activities
3. Landcare-run field days and other learning events
– Peer-to-peer learning events for landholders to learn from local examples and hear about the experiences of other landholders and locally recognised experts
4. “In their own words” stories to assist communication and information sharing
– Sharing stories from local landholders and experts to support learning and information sharing on private land conservation.

8. How can Landcare groups get involved?

Regional Landcare organisations have been funded to deliver private land conservation activities. Local Landcare Groups should contact their regional body to find out how they can participate in these activities.

9. Who can Landcare groups contact for more information?

The primary contact for the BCT Partnering in Private Land Conservation Project is Thalie Partridge from Landcare NSW through her email: tpartridge@landcarensw.org.au

As the project progresses, Regional Landcare Coordinators will be able to provide region-specific advice and assist in the development of project EOIs. Landcare groups can also always contact their regional BCT staff members.