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Conservation

Protecting Victoria’s unique plants and wildlife on private land

Preserving our natural heritage

Trust for Nature, through our statutory powers, plays a unique role in protecting the diverse range of native plants, animals and habitats on private land in perpetuity, a key role in biodiversity conservation in Victoria.

This role is particularly important in Victoria as 62% of the land area is privately owned, of which over 10 million hectares has been cleared. Ongoing losses on private land continue, with a conservatively estimated 4,000 additional hectares lost each year. Long-term protection of what remains is critical to the future persistence of many ecosystems and species, particularly those whose are reliant on private land areas to avoid extinction. To achieve this goal, Trust for Nature works closely with private landowners, government agencies, other conservation organisations, traditional owners and businesses to help protect and manage Victoria’s special habitats, plants and wildlife found on private land forever.

We use a variety of methods to achieve conservation goals across Victoria. These include: 'on title agreements' known as conservation covenants to protect private land in perpetuity; land purchase and our Revolving Fund; partnering with organisations and communities to strategically assess and plan conservation outcomes; and on-ground works such as planting, species monitoring, weed control and fencing.

We are committed to an evidence based approach to conservation, ensuring we use data driven approaches to deliver, inform and continue to improve strategic conservation outcomes on private land in Victoria. To support this, Trust for Nature applies the internationally recognised Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, and the associated tools including Conservation Action Planning (CAP) and Healthy Country Planning (HCP) methodology to inform our conservation strategy, planning, monitoring, implementation and development of best practice.

Trust for Nature’s conservation covenants and our network of private conservation reserves contribute to national and international targets under the National Reserve System, the international Convention on Biological Diversity and the Aichi Biodiversity targets. 



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Conservation covenants

Trust for Nature developed our conservation covenant program so that landowners could permanently protect native vegetation, including habitat for plants and wildlife, on their own properties. Our covenanting program was established under the Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972.

A conservation covenant is a permanent, legally-binding agreement placed on a property's title to ensure native vegetation on the property is protected forever. This agreement is voluntary and negotiated between Trust for Nature and each individual landowner.

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Revolving Fund

We use our Revolving Fund to purchase unique properties with conservation value. Once we have secured these conservation properties, we then sell them on to new owners with the understanding that the property will be protected by a conservation covenant.

All proceeds from property sales are put directly back into the Fund, and recycled by Trust for Nature to allow the Revolving Fund to continue to purchase and protect even more properties. 

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Statewide Conservation Plan

Trust for Nature has an integral role to play in the conservation of Victoria’s plants and animals. Our statutory powers allow us to work with private landowners to protect habitats and wildlife on private land in perpetuity.

Our Statewide Conservation Plan guides our work, alongside Trust for Nature’s Strategic Plan, to identify and achieve conservation goals across Victoria. The Plan is the first of its kind to address the conservation needs of ecosystems and species exclusively on private land in Australia and forms the guiding principles of all our conservation work. 

Conservation in action

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Ecosystems

Victoria’s landscapes are as varied as they are beautiful – from rainforest to desert, coast to mountains, and everything in between. Ecosystems describe the relationships between all the living organisms in an area, and the air, water, and minerals that support them.

In Victoria, Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) groups are used by the scientific and conservation community to identify ecosystems based on the vegetation type, such as Grassy Dry Forest, or Plains Grassland. Nearly 90% of all under-represented Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs) in Victoria occur on private land.

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