Private Land Conservation Matters (PLCM)

Private land conservation really does matter!

Suzanne Pritchard, LNSW Project Manager

Private land conservation really does matter and Landcarers across NSW are supporting those that are leading the way and encouraging other landholders to follow thanks to the $1.54 million Private Land Conservation Matters (PLCM) contract LNSW is delivering for the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT).

What started out as a partnership between the BCT and LNSW to better understand the shared interests in managing land for biodiversity outcomes has developed into a mutually beneficially arrangement providing resources for 12 host organisations across the state to host 106 events by December 2024.

From multi-partner multi-day forums to online webinars, and every event type in between, how to manage private land to enhance biodiversity outcomes is being talked about by experts, shared in social networking gatherings, understood through citizen science projects and on land that has a one form or another of conservation covenant upon it.

It’s all about protection of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands (BGGW) in the Murray. Landholders will be able to learn about this endangered vegetation type while spotlighting and dining, considering natural capital options, understanding cultural connections or identifying tools and technology to tackle management decision. The BGGW supports productive agriculture based on native pastures, so it’s a win for landholders, native flora and fauna if this diverse ecosystem can be encouraged, expanded and connected across the landscape.

In the north of the state walk & talk field days on covenanted landholdings will see multiple agencies converging to share best practice land conservation techniques and knowledge in dealing with landslips and erosion, threatened species, and property planning. These gatherings are key to strengthening the social connections between landholders, who sometimes feel isolated, with like-minded Landcarers.

Out west big is better and forums are the flavour for bringing landholders together. The combination of large distances and limited time will see a multiday forum held in the western region and a 2-day event focussing on all aspects of utilising fire in the north western region. There will also be field days-a-plenty providing opportunities to get up close and personal with seed, showcasing some trials and demonstration and bringing multiple organisations together to explore and educate how to improve on-farm biodiversity.

The southeast will be utilising the PLCM funding to host roadshows across the region on riparian strategies and bush regeneration techniques. Regional workshops and field days are also planned to cover topics as diverse as koalas, regenerative agriculture, keystone species, fungi and flora, preceded by information sharing webinars so that the theory can be put into on the day. A muster to bring everyone together is in the mix too.

Along the east coast learning opportunities to better understand private land management of feral animals, woody weeds, caring for country, ecological burns for biodiversity, koalas, and fungi will see workshops and field days held. A growing interest in understanding bush regeneration strategies will provide food for thought about the value of retaining and expanding remnant vegetation.

If you’d like to find out more about what’s happening in your region contact your local landcare group, or BCT representative. All regions across the state have something to offer.

Private land conservation, by providing opportunities for landholders and Landcarers to connect and support each other, will greatly contribute to the Global Biodiversity Framework’s 30×30 targets calling for 30% of land under protection by 2030.

The Private Land Conservation Matters program is key to unlocking the potential of landholders to protect biodiversity across the state. LNSW acknowledges the foresight and support of the BCT in resourcing Landcarers to deliver an extensive program of activities for landholders to conserve biodiversity on their property.

March 2024


Biodiversity conservation on private land in NSW is imperative in preserving unique ecosystems, flora, and fauna that may not be inhabited in public conservation areas. Protecting biodiversity on private lands also plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance, improving land productivity, and enhancing water quality, all of which directly benefit both the landowners and the broader community.

As urbanisation and industrial activities continue to expand, private lands have become increasingly crucial refuges for many species, helping to reduce habitat fragmentation and support long-term environmental sustainability. Our partnership with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) is vital.

Private Land Conservation Matters (PLCM) is Stage 2 of Landcare NSW’s partnership program with the BCT, building on the success and lessons learned from the 2020-22 Project, including increased awareness of the BCT’s roles and responsibilities amongst the Landcare community, and relationships developed between regional Landcare networks and regional BCT Managers.

Highlights from the first partnership were:

• 2635 people directly engaged through face-to-face and online events,
• 78 field days held on a range of conservation management topics, hosted on private landholders’ properties,
• 149 networking events were held on landholder properties across the state, and
• 390 communication products developed, including short videos, brochures, and newsletters highlighting private land conservation in regional communities.

The recently appointed program manager, Suzanne Pritchard, has focused on understanding the depth and breadth of Stage 1 achievements across the state and preparing for the new round of regionally co-designed work plans.

The $1.4 million, 18-month project is a contracted arrangement with the BCT, which will see LNSW working closely with regional coordinators to meet the 100 events, 2000 Landholders engaged target through the delivery of field days and networking activities, reaching out to the conservation community.

This project is an opportunity to forge a strong relationship with the BCT, which supports the Landcare community to deliver exceptional events and continue building bridges between private landowners, Landcare NSW, and the BCT.

To date, conversations between regional BCT and regional Landcare have proposed regional forums to bring the conservation community together after the COVID cloistering, regional workshops on locally relevant topics, local property-based events, and engagement of project officers to deliver the regional programs.

Ultimately, the project provides additional resources to deliver on-ground enhanced biodiversity outcomes, focusing on private land but relevant to all land tenures and all landcarers.


– Suzanne Pritchard, Project Manager, Landcare NSW

Boorowa Community Landcare Group Grazing and Biodiveristy Tour

Author: Review by David Marsh, Boorowa Community Landcare Group, 18 November 2022

The weather gods were kind and our long-awaited bus trip set off with almost forty participants, from Queen Street, Boorowa, at seven thirty sharp. The day was perfect and recent rainfall dictated that the coach was not to leave the road for fear of getting bogged.

Our leaders were Linda Cavanagh, Boorowa Community Landcare Group and South-East NSW Regional Landcare Coordinator, who is a genius at getting groups to come together on land issues; newly appointed Boorowa Community Landcare Project Officer, Amber Kelly from Rugby; and Scott Hickman from Canowindra who has a mentoring role with the Boorowa Grazing Group and long experience as the Project Officer of the Mid Lachlan Landcare Group Project, Growing the Grazing Revolution.

As we left Boorowa, we all took turns to introduce ourselves, give a brief description of our interests in land management; and to say what book or books we were reading or had read that we liked. Several books were mentioned a number of times, Call of the Reed Warbler, Dr Charles Massy; A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold; Dirt to Soil, Gabe Brown; For the Love of Soil, Nicole Masters; The One Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka.

We had three farm visits, and the overriding sentiment expressed by the group was our admiration for the passion these farmers had for being worthy partners in their relationship to the land. Increasing biodiversity, soil organic carbon, soil health and tree cover were consistently mentioned.

We all felt lifted-up by the philosophy of these families who were taking a small step back from their roles to allow the next generation to ‘get their hands in the dirt’ and transition to a greater share of the management. The respect shown by these young farmers towards their parents and parents-in-law was moving. Someone mentioned the gracious way his father had shown his willingness to engage in the process of succession.

First stop was at Tumbleton, near Wombat where five generations had been farming and grazing the deep red Parna, or wind-blown soils that came in when a very arid time prevailed in a past geological age. These soils are found on the tops of the hills at Tumbleton.

We walked a few hundred metres into a paddock that had never been ploughed, very unusual on a farm with mostly arable land in the south-west slopes.

Moving down the slopes the soils are granite derived. The land was attractive and undulating with a scattering of remnant eucalypts. There was quite a bit of discussion about the importance of looking out for volunteer seedling eucalypts and trying to protect them from grazing. Unplanned grazing where stock are left in one place for extended periods tends to lead to the death of these infrequent seedlings. The longer recoveries associated with planned recovery grazing can be the trigger for the appearance of volunteers.

The next generation on this farm are moving in the direction of embracing the philosophy of life friendly farming driven by a decision-making framework that balances the needs of people, business and landscape. The Wilkinson family and their daughter Gemma and her husband Jake Chandler, together with their baby daughter Vivian are taking a long view of the future landscape that will go on increasing in biodiversity whilst providing a haven for their family, and providing a low risk, profitable business.

A common observation of the two grazing farms we visited was that despite having never been ploughed the species mix was dominated by exotic annual plants. Quite a number of native perennials were also evident. Species such as wallaby grass, weeping grass, common wheat grass, rarely Kangaroo grass, corkscrew species, tall stipa and red grass indicate that despite the annuals holding sway, changing management may swing the balance more towards the natives that evolved here. These species don’t require any inputs, just slightly changed management.

A change of focus came with our second stop at Hall Family Orchards. We had an introduction to the detailed management needed to produce high quality fruit with the challenges of soil nutrient issues and the complexity of moving to a more sympathetic land use philosophy.

We were bowled over with the detailed knowledge that Chris and his family need to achieve their goal of improving land and diversity in an intensive cherry growing farm business.

Chris has been awarded for his achievements in carbon sequestration, with a Carbon Cocky Award followed by being named NSW Farmer of the year for 2019. These awards have given recognition to Chris and his family’s innovation and persistence in showing that orcharding can be run using regenerative principles.

The venue for lunch was The Grove Estate Winery owned by the Mullaney family.

The Fowler family’s’ Rosedale was our final stop and the theme of wise stewardship on a farm that has been in the family since the late 1860s. Tony Fowler gave us a wonderful history of the farm and the changes that have happened over their tenure. From horse to tractors and all the digital technology of the modern age. The family has moved into the philosophy of managing for people, business and landscape. The importance of family was a strong theme all day and training in managing using holistic principles rated as very important. Here are families who have moved away from the circular discussions that so often characterise our fumbling attempts to address this necessary facet of farm businesses. They have acted and a plan is unfolding where Tim Fowler and his wife Clemency are taking the first steps in a journey to making true profits. That is, low-cost farming using mostly contemporary energy, low risk, low-cost businesses that rely on the landscape’s capacity for renewal, and farm ecosystems with increasing biodiversity and improving levels of soil organic carbon. Tim was full of praise for those who came before him and is facing the future with eager anticipation and eyes wide open.

We walked into another large and never-ploughed paddock with huge remnant trees and abundant pasture in this good season. It will be fascinating to observe the changes as these farmers learn with the experience of years just what makes the landscape tick.

We moved to the tranquil garden at Rosedale where Tony and Marie Louise have lived for many years. It is now occupied by their daughter and son in law. Stephanie and Mike run the Bulla Creek Brewery and we spent a pleasant hour yarning and tasting the various beers.

A wonderful day and so good to be out and about after the dramas of the last three years.


The NSW State Budget has turned its environmental focus on biodiversity this year, with more than $2 billion invested in programs focusing on protection, conservation and natural capital investment.

Handed down on Tuesday 21st June, the Department of Environment and Heritage announced ‘biodiversity being a….clear focus in the 2022-23 NSW Budget, with major investments in ground-breaking programs that support landholders to protect and conserve their land.’

NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin, said he welcomed further investment in the environment and community sector.

“The NSW Landcare community, and all our communities, have rallied in an incredible way over the past year in response to COVID-19, bushfires and now floods hitting our regions.

“It’s led to much loss, but an investment into biodiversity, rewarding land owners for sustainable land management and identifying the benefits of investing in building a more sustainable future is very welcome. It will better support our Landcarers to get on with the job of ensuring that our communities and environments thrive,” Mr Guerin said.

Big winners this year are $106.7 million investment in the Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund, and $206.2 million over 10 years to enhance the State’s natural capital by rewarding farmers who opt-in to a Sustainable Farming accreditation program.

In the conservation sector, large scale lobbying and warnings from environmentalists regarding their potential extinction, have created a koala focus with the NSW Government committing to $145.9 million to continue to deliver the NSW Koala Strategy.  This strategy is targeted at conservation actions with the long-term goal of doubling koala numbers in New South Wales by 2050. This is on top of the $50 million the Federal Government allocated to support the species in its most recent budget

Landcare NSW project partner, Saving Our Species, secured $60 million to continue the Saving our Species program which aims to support and restore identified threatened species from extinction (part of the existing $75 million recurrent expenses over five years announced in 2021).

Other highlights include:

  1. $24.2 million for essential environmental monitoring for air quality forecasting and alerts, and to expand water quality monitoring to more swim sites across New South Wales.
  2. $163.9 million in 2022-23 to bolster the State’s response and readiness capability to future biosecurity incursions, including enhanced response targeting endemic species.
  3. $182.0 million to deliver the 10-year NSW Government Marine Estate Management Strategy to improve water quality, estuary health and other biodiversity and environmental metrics.
  4. $163.9 million in 2022-23 to bolster the State’s response and readiness capability to future biosecurity incursions, including enhanced response targeting endemic species.
  5. $17.1 million to continue the Farm Business Resilience Program and Rural Financial Counselling Service, which provides farmers with the skills and knowledge they need to build resilience to future droughts and natural disasters.
  6. $222.1 million over four years for the National Parks and Wildlife Service across the State, to support the following investments benefiting regional communities: – the new Arc Rainforest Centre and Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk to showcase the ancient World Heritage rainforests of the Dorrigo escarpment – the establishment of a Reserve and Activation Fund to fill critical gaps in the national parks estate and to enhance regional tourism and economic benefits
  7. $32.9 million to boost the State’s early detection and response to biosecurity threats on Lord Howe Island and protect the Island’s World Heritage ecological values.
  8. $286.2 million over four years to implement the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and NSW Plastics Action Plan
  9. Continued delivery of the $49.4 million Gardens of Stone Walk near Lithgow to showcase the State’s diverse natural and cultural heritage assets.
  10. $148.4 million over two years to manage the clean-up and removal of flood and storm-related damage, debris and green waste from the 2022 floods
  11. $93.7 million over eight years for a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to develop risk assessments, action plans and other capabilities needed to address the physical risks arising from climate change
  12. $19.8 million for Water Strategy Initiatives to address floodplain management, First Nations access and a groundwater framework.

For full budget papers click here

New Partnership set to develop and deliver nature-based climate change mitigation and biodiversity projects in NSW

Landcare NSW has today announced it is partnering with South Pole, a leading project developer and global climate action expert, to develop climate action projects across NSW.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit said the partnership is a natural fit for Landcare NSW whose mission is to care for our land, environment, and communities.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with South Pole to develop world-leading projects taking practical action to deal with climate change. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote nature-based carbon sequestration and this partnership is a step in the right direction.

“Our partnership will take an innovative approach to make lasting change. It will see the development of carbon credit projects that deliver real, tangible benefits to the local communities in which our Landcare groups and landholders live and work throughout NSW,” said Dr Zammit.

Dr Thomas Schroder, Head of Climate Action for South Pole said the partnership will allow both organisations to achieve strong environmental outcomes.

“Working with Landcare NSW to reduce and remove carbon emissions, as well as restore and protect our state’s unique biodiversity, is an exciting opportunity for South Pole,” said Dr Schroder.

“As well as supporting our national decarbonisation efforts, developing these projects with landholders and local Landcare groups can provide new revenue streams for farmers and property owners while leading to direct productivity gains and positive environmental outcomes on the ground.”

The partnership brings together South Pole’s global and local expertise as a project developer with Landcare NSW’s strong community network, creating opportunities for Landcare members across the whole state via the range of carbon and biodiversity project options available. Landcare NSW is currently identifying a number of regions for pilot projects.

A range of nature-based projects will be possible including soil carbon, human induced regeneration, beef cattle herd management and forest management. These can be registered with the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Regulator to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units, or with international voluntary carbon standards, such as Gold Standard or Verra. Biodiversity conservation projects will also form part of the offering, in light of the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Offset Scheme and voluntary standards. These projects not only generate on-farm benefits, they also sequester carbon and protect and restore biodiversity. This generates a revenue stream that pays the farmer to undertake necessary activities.

Landcare NSW is the peak representative body of community Landcare groups in NSW. Landcare is a community-driven approach to sustainable natural resource management with a focus on improving the resilience of the environment now and into the future.

South Pole is a global profit-for-purpose company and certified B Corp which develops emissions reduction and biodiversity projects across a range of methodologies and works with the private and the public sector to drive decarbonisation. Active in Australia since 2012, South Pole has a team of experts in local offices in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as regional representations.

Media contacts: 

Landcare NSW
Jodie Lovell – 0439 316 151

South Pole
Carly Youd – 0432 357 468


Listen carefully and you’ll notice a distinctive sound. In between the throaty cries of crows and the screeching of galahs, the warbling tones of the Superb Parrot colour the air as they feast on flowering gums and grass seeds.

There is some debate around the remaining number of Superb Parrots in the wild, whether there is 8,000 or 10,000, however the fact we can all agree on is that their numbers are declining.

But not if local Landcare and community groups have anything to do with it.

Established in 2017, a consortium including Boorowa Landcare, Hovells Creek Landcare, Upper Lachlan Landcare, Lachlandcare & Mid Lachlan Landcare are working together with partners Cowra Woodland Birds, Greening Australia and National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW to ensure that the parrots and the project that supports them has a fighting chance.

Found along inland Eastern NSW, the parrots face many challenges. As a mainly hollow-bearing species, the parrots require trees of over 100 years old – as only mature trees create hollows – and are restricted to certain tree species such as Box-Gum, Box-Cypress-pine and Boree Woodlands and River Red Gum Forest as well as Blakely’s Red Gum, Yellow Box, Apple Box and Red Box.

But with a support group as collectively diverse as the species habitat range, the passion and dedication that the members bring to preserving the species is inspiring and heartening.

Bird walks have been held over all the region, as part of the broader SoS program. The one last month brought it to six.

Educational seminars have been going for more than five years and up to 100 participants have been trained in the monitoring technique through this project.

Dedicated programs spanning years to support not just the superb parrot but all birdlife and the supporting ecosystems? Absolutely.

For Local Landcare Coordinator for Boorowa Landcare, Linda Cavanagh, the involvement and support of community groups and local landholders has helped sustain the momentum for the continuation of the programs.

“Community involvement is crucial. But community enthusiasm is a driving factor and is so important too. Boorowa Landcare is one of five Landcare groups in our region who have taken on supporting the Superb Parrot and the ecosystems on which they rely on.

“One of our biggest drivers has been local landholders collating and collecting data about the birds and feeding into this program.

“Our birdwalks and regular bird surveys help build the knowledge of population trends, key flight paths and the success factors that lead to successful breeding ecology of the Superb Parrot.

“With such a vast habitat area, collaborations such as the ones between all our local landcare groups are so important and we can help build the knowledge base to help support our work and advocacy for the species.

“Of course, the key strength of the program has been the community engagement activities to increase awareness and interest in project participation by keen volunteers, we couldn’t do it without them,” Linda said.

The funding for the program and activities comes from Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (previously Office of Environment & Heritage) and has helped ensure that Superb Parrot restoration actions in the broader Saving Our Species (SoS) program continue. 

Local Superb Parrot expert, Pat Downey, says collective group’s involvement in supporting the species lead to greater data collection and consistency that is in line with Regional and State wide data bases.

“I’ve been working with Landcare for five years and have seen the growth of passion and ownership for the health of the species.

“The education component is critical is helping communities understand their impact on the local environment and how removing just one tree can have a huge ripple effect on all local species. You are removing a potential home, food source, shelter for other species, microbes in the soil for other vegetation. But, by leaving that tree and protecting it by fencing it off to protect it in combination with planting understorey shrubs you are investing in your land, your profitability and the future of a multitude of species.

“Additionally, by fencing off existing paddock trees you are also supporting your livestock as you are supporting the health of the tree and future trees it may lead to and there’s value for everyone in those things,” Pat said.

As you watch their flight and movement you can understand why communities want to support them and their future. They’re beautiful to watch. A shift in the angle of wings, a cresting in the air and you witness a change in colour with the brilliance in green and gold and example of why a shift in perspective can mean the world of a difference.

The Saving Our Superb Parrot is funded by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Saving Our Species (SoS) program.

Biodiversity development key component for environmental projects

Burrumbuttock Squirrel Gliders LAMP Project by Lou Bull.

There is a dark stripe from between the eyes to the mid-back, and the tail is soft and bushy averaging about 27 cm in length. Distinct in appearance and vulnerable in habitat, Squirrel Gliders are some of Australia’s smaller residents.   

In the small town of Burrumbuttock, in the central southern part of the Riverina region, Landcare and community groups have been busy advocating, preserving and enhancing their natural habitat to ensure that future generations, both of the human and glider variety, are here to enjoy it.

Naturally, their homes of choice are tree hollows in 100 year old eucalyptus where they can hide in the dark until evening falls and then come out to feed on insects, flowers and tree sap.

The Burrumbuttock Squirrel Glider Local Area Management Plan (LAMP) Project aims to double the glider population at Burrumbuttock to 1,000, but at a starting number of 555 it’s a long road.

“This project has been going for 20 years. Squirrel gliders are hollow dependant but hollows only start forming when trees are over 100 years old and a nesting pair can use up to 30 hollows across their home range. They move around a lot to match where available food is at different times of year, weather, avoid different predators,” says Regional Landcare Coordinator for the Murray Region, Paula Sheehan.

“The trees we planted may be 80 years away from being homes for the gliders, but we are 20 years closer than if we had not started. In the meantime, they will be a food source and help the gliders move about their range.

Support from private landholders and the wider community is essential for the longevity of the project, Paula says.

“So far we have 41 landholders who have committed to supporting the project on their properties with more on the waiting list. Their support is crucial in ensuring the long-term viability of the species.

“Projects such as these are about supporting and developing biodiversity. It’s not as simple as putting some trees in and waiting. It is so much more than that. We are not just supporting gliders, we are supporting trees, grasslands, lizards, birds, insects and the farmers themselves. It’s all part of a much bigger picture,” said Paula.

Local Landcare Coordinator for Mid Lachlan Landcare Tracee Burke agrees, saying projects that groups develop are not just about one specific species. They are about supporting and protecting biodiversity across all landscapes.

“The collaborative role Mid Lachlan Landcare and private landholders have in the Box Gum Grassy Woodland Habitat on Farm project is crucial. We are working together to create bio-diverse, healthy farms that protect and enhance this woodland.  

“We are working with landholders to find the best way to maintain the remaining trees, encourage natural regeneration, provide connectivity and plant new species if required.”

With less than 10% of its pre-European distribution intact, the open woodland trees are listed as critically endangered both at a state and nationwide level. With their range spanning from Queensland to Victoria, it’s a big task.

“The trees are just one component in the biodiversity of the surrounding areas. With them comes shrubs, grasses, native herbs and with that comes mammals such as the Squirrel Glider, birds such as the Superb Parrot, reptiles and frogs. These all work alongside one another and need to be protected. By doing one, you are supporting the other and we are always thinking of both,” Tracee said.

Images produced with permission.

‘Squirrel Gliders’ Lou Bull – Petaurus Education Group Project Officer 

‘Box Gum Grassy Woodland’ – Local Landcare Coordinator Tracee Burke – Mid Lachlan Landcare 

To find out more:

Samantha Stratton – Landcare NSW

Box Gum Grassy Woodland by Tracee Burke