Trust For Nature

Impact Report 2015


Trust for Nature

Impact Report

Safeguarding a future for Victoria's
unique natural places, wildlife
and plants.

Did you know how much you've changed
the state of Victoria - for the better?

Every year, more of Victoria’s native plants and animals are protected and able to thrive as nature intended – because of you. Thanks to your support and that of our other supporters, donors, partners and staff, Trust for Nature has been able to achieve some great things over the years.

Our Impact Report shows how much of a difference we’ve made together.

Over the past five years, Trust for Nature has worked with many thousands of people as well as government, philanthropic and conservation partners, all working towards a shared vision of a world where our native plants and wildlife, and significant natural heritage are all protected forever. A world in which both people and nature are able to live and thrive in harmony.

We know that biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are vital for our survival and prosperity and that of future generations. We know that you share our belief that the needs of people must be balanced with those of the natural world which we all inhabit and on which we all rely. Our work has never been more important.

We work side by side with covenantors – people who voluntarily commit to caring for the natural values on their properties – who are the heart of Trust for Nature’s work.

In this report you’ll learn about some of our work across Victoria to achieve that vision, from the rediscovery of the tiny New Holland Mouse in East Gippsland to the protection of Remnant Grassy Ecosystems in the North Central region, from support for research through university scholarships, to planting, fencing and ecological burning where we roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty!

We could never achieve so much without your help. Thank you.

Victoria Marles

A vision for conservation in Victoria

Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, and the state of Victoria contains thousands of important species and places of ecological significance not found anywhere else in the world. Conserving these is vital to a healthy environment and halting the decline of other species.

Victoria holds the highest proportion of privately owned land (62%) in Australia. It’s also the most altered and cleared state, with private land having already lost 80% of native vegetation and ongoing clearing of an estimated 4,600 hectares per year. Increased protection and management on private land is critical to conserving Victoria’s natural heritage and biodiversity.

Trust for Nature’s vision is that within two decades, protecting native vegetation and wildlife on private land will be recognised and valued as a central part of mainstream Australian environmental practice, just as water and energy conservation is today. There will be a shared expectation and responsibility

among communities, landowners and governments that, just as national and state parks are protected, so too significant natural areas on private land should be protected. With your help, we’re making this vision a reality.

Trust for Nature’s Statewide Conservation Plan is our blueprint for protecting and restoring natural assets across Victoria. To guide the protection of Victoria’s three classes of biodiversity assets on private land – terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems and threatened species – all of our work is towards achieving our six core conservation goals of:

• improving the viability of ecosystems and species at a landscape scale
• improving protection of the least protected ecosystems and threatened communities
• improving protection of significant aquatic and coastal ecosystems
• improving protection of threatened species
• enhancing and protecting landscape connectivity, and
• enhancing and protecting habitat quality.

We work closely with many other organisations to ensure we are working towards the same goals locally, state-wide and nationally, maximising our impact in conservation.

Working with private landowners

Trust for Nature holds a unique power in Victoria outside of government entities – protecting private land forever through conservation covenants.

A covenant is a legally binding agreement placed on property’s title to ensure it is protected in perpetuity for the benefit of biodiversity.

Landowners who voluntary protect their land are growing in number, and are becoming a part of the solution to combatting

species decline, vegetation degradation and the pressing concern of climate change.

As part of a landowner’s protection of their private land under covenant, Trust for Nature provides various services and support, such as land stewardship, offset agreements, feral species control, and habitat improvements. Ensuring covenanted land meets conservation objectives requires our hands-on assistance and scientific expertise. And of course, our covenantors’ commitment, drive and vision are key to success.

Trust for Nature staff are located across the state and have a deep connection with local communities. Being locals ourselves ensures our staff can successfully work alongside landowners.

Over the years we have watched in delight as our conservation covenanted property has changed. Trust for Nature’s stewardship program has been a big part of that change. Richard Robinson, covenantor

Trust for Nature staff helped us understand the great diversity that we found on our property – it was definitely more than just a paddock. It is land that is being preserved for the future. Pete and Deb Hahnemann, covenantors

How far we've come with your support

All that we do to protect and conserve Victoria's natural places and species is only possible with your support.

Here is just some of what we've been able to achieve - because of you!

Thank you from all of us at Trust for Nature.

2014-2015 financial year

Remnant Grassy Ecosystems Project

Trust for Nature’s work on the Remnant Grassy Ecosystems Project has delivered, amongst other outcomes:
• Increased covenanted lands containing grasslands by 136 hectares
• Grassland conditionmonitoring programs for 600 sites over 10,000 hectares
• 2km of priority fencing to assist land management
• Priority weed control over 2.5 hectares
• Fox and rabbit control over 2,500 hectares
• 20 hectares of grassy woodland revegetation
• Fields days for property owners and the public.

With funding from the Australian Government and generous donors, and in partnership with covenantors, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Northern Plains Catchment Management Network, Birdlife Australia, local Landcare groups, and other conservation organisations, this project’s success has led to further partnerships being established, increasing our efforts to protect as much as possible of these endangered ecosystems and their vulnerable plants and animals.

This project, carried out across several landscapes within the North Central region, aims to protect and restore fragmented grassland ecosystems on the Northern Plains.

With only 5% of the former extent of native grasslands remaining in Victoria, they are among the most threatened ecosystems in Australia and across the world, with the consequence that all of Victoria’s grassland ecosystems are classified as nationally threatened.

Many species of native plants and animals that depend on these grassland ecosystems are also threatened due to

the scale of past and ongoing habitat loss, including the Hooded Scaly-foot legless lizard, Fat-tailed Dunnart, Slender Darling-pea, the critically endangered Spiny Rice-flower, and the globally endangered Plains-wanderer, the only representative bird of its Family.

A key priority for this project has been to protect further privately owned land of benefit to grassy ecosystems. Two of the locations included in the project are Trust for Nature’s 1,895 hectare Wanderers Plain property and 170 hectare Glasson’s Grassland property – key pieces in the Northern Plains grassy ecosystem.

New Holland Mouse

Pseudomys Novaehollandiae

landscape now represents the stronghold for the New Holland Mouse in Victoria. 2014 surveys within the Providence Ponds area along the Perry River identified 33 individuals remaining in this population, the first records here since 1990.

We have begun conservation works along Perry River to help this endangered mammal, including:
• Feral animal control measures
• Population and vegetation monitoring to inform fire regimes
• Further surveys to secure any unknown populations on private land
• Public awareness for protection of the species, with local activities such as mammal trapping training days.

Increasing our knowledge of this species’ diet, habitat and response to ecological burning will play a vital role in halting the decline, and hopefully increasing populations, of the New Holland Mouse.

The New Holland Mouse is on the verge of extinction in Australia. With only an estimated six to eight small populations in total within Australia, four of these discrete populations remaining in Victoria, extinction is unfortunately a real possibility for this endangered native mouse. Unabated threats such as introduced predators, habitat clearing and a lack of management have contributed to a plummeting population.

This nocturnal species lives within woodlands, heathlands and vegetated sand dunes. Little is known of their feeding habits, and though populations of the New Holland Mouse have been shown to increase after the regenerating effects of fire, it is unclear what changes they may be responding to.

Trust for Nature and our partners are embarking on securing a future for this likable little rodent. Our Gippsland Plain and Gippsland Lakes catchment focal

Pallister's Reserve

A Trust for Nature conservation property

With the help of our donors and a management committee made up of local volunteers committed to its ongoing conservation, this Reserve is one of our biodiversity gems.

Pallister’s Reserve contains Heathy Open Forest Woodland, Swamp Shrubland and multiple wetlands of seasonal swamps and permanent waterholes. These wetlands provide important habitat for several threatened animals, including Dwarf Galaxias, Brolga and Latham’s Snipe, and refuge for many other species of animals and plants.

In 1989 Mr William Pallister generously offered a parcel of his intact land to Trust for Nature, which was purchased and subsequently expanded with the help of donors and public appeals. Today, after almost 30 years as a Trust for Nature property, Pallister’s Reserve is an important link in local biodiversity.

Located near Orford in the Glenelg Hopkins region, the Reserve is of high conservation significance in a predominantly cleared landscape. Its diverse range of vegetation and habitat types makes it home to many native animals and plants, including 98 bird species and 200 plant species.

White Star-bush

Asterolasia asteriscophora subsp. albiflora

At home amongst shrubby woodlands and heathy open forests, the slender White Star-bush grows to two metres, and has dark green leaves with distinct rust-coloured hairs. The delicate flowers for which it is named are just 15mm wide, flowering from September to November.

Trust for Nature was generously bequeathed a property in Emerald some years ago containing a healthy population of this endangered plant. After covenanting the property and onselling it, we have been able to purchase and covenant further properties in the area which are suitable for the White Star-bush.

The White Star-bush, also known as the Emerald Star-bush, is one of our unique plants endemic to a very small region of Victoria. Found only in the Emerald district, east of Melbourne in the Port

Phillip and Westernport region, this endangered shrub has felt the effects of clearing for farming and development, wildfire and weed invasion, and is now restricted to six small populations.

Backing bright minds

Thanks to the generous bequest of Dr Alex Scholes, Trust for Nature is helping to ensure a promising future for the next generation of conservation scientists through our Scholes Scholarships. Each year we award two scholarships to university students who display fantastic potential in their chosen field.

Our 2015 Scholes Scholars are Jordan Traill, studying a Master of Environment, and Helen Lawrence, studying a Master of Science (Geography). Both students’ studies will directly benefit Trust for Nature’s conservation works.

Protecting nature on private land in Victoria

Trust for Nature is Australia’s oldest private land trust, working with private landowners in Victoria to protect the native plants and wildlife on their properties in perpetuity. Since our establishment in 1972, Trust for Nature has achieved impressive results in environmental conservation. We use a number of methods including voluntary conservation covenants, land purchase, a Revolving Fund and ongoing land stewardship programs.

Trust for Nature’s statutory power to protect private land through conservation covenants is unique in Victoria and vital to the protection of natural places across the state.

» Download our Impact Report 2015 as a PDF (6MB)

As a not-for-profit organisation, Trust for Nature holds Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office. All contributions of $2 and over are tax-deductible.

Want to discuss your
options to support us?

We’d love to hear from you!

Phone: +61 3 8631 5888
Freecall: 1800 99 99 33 (within Australia)

Trust for Nature (Victoria)
5/379 Collins Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

ABN: 60 292 993 543

Your support ensures the success of our work to protect Victoria’s amazing biodiversity – from old growth trees, orchids and fungi, to invertebrates, birds and mammals, and everything in between. Not only do we focus on individual species, but also landscape-scale biodiversity, all of which form a healthy and prosperous environment. And a healthy environment equals healthy people, healthy communities, and a bright future for generations to come.

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