Nature Conservation Trust > Our Mission > Nature Conservation > Role of Private Land Conservation

Role of Private Land Conservation

Most Australians value our national parks and spend time enjoying all they offer – the chance to experience the great outdoors and to get away from it all.

However many Australians are unaware that national parks only make up around 8% of the continent[1]. When cities and other land uses are subtracted from the equation, around 80% of Australia is in private hands.

This means there is significant potential for landholders to create protected habitat for biodiversity through private land conservation projects.

Maximising the potential for private land conservation

The NCT is part of a broad network of organisations working to establish private land conservation initiatives.
The NCT is part of a broader alliance of organisations working with landowners across Australia to create protected habitat under a covenant. This alliance is called The Australian Land Conservation Alliance, or ALCA.

ALCA’s members include:

Other key organisations undertaking substantial work to create protected habitat include:

  • Australian Bush Heritage
  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy

“As of 2012, protected areas on land had grown to 15.3% of Australia’s land area, up from 9.5% in 2002. More recent figures indicate this had grown to 16.5% as at 30 June 2013 due almost entirely to rapid recent growth of Indigenous Protected Areas. Highly protected areas, primarily national parks grew from 6.6% to 8.3% over the past decade.”[2]

In NSW, the NCT works alongside, and directly with many organisations. One program we work closely with is The Private Land Conservation Grants Partnership Program.

An initiative of the Foundation for National Parks,  it brings together a group of not for profits and government agencies to support the work of landowners.

They include:

  • NSW Environmental Trust (major funder)
  • OEH Conservation Partners Program
  • Nature Conservation Trust of NSW
  • Paddy Pallin Foundation
  • Wildlife Land Trust
  • Diversicon Environmental Foundation
  • Community Environment Network
  • Local Land Services.

The Private Land Conservation Grants Program offers grants to owners of properties with conservation agreements. The program has provided more than $1m to support NSW private landholders undertaking conservation works on their own properties.

Read more abut the Private Land Conservation Grants Program and how to apply for a grant.

The Greater Eastern Ranges Initiative

We are a lead partner in the Great Eastern Ranges (GER) Initiative, a landscape scale project linking projects from north Queensland to western Victoria.

Based on a model of partnerships, the initiative works across organisational and state boundaries to achieve common private land conservation goals.

The NCT joins other lead partners including:

  • Greening Australia
  • National Parks Association of NSW
  • Office of Environment and Heritage

Read more about The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative.

Our common goal: protecting wildlife

Working in partnership with a wide range of organisations and agencies,  our ultimate goal, through private land conservation projects, is to help create landscapes linked by wildlife corridors, giving native species the best chance of survival: the best chance to interbreed, and to access larger habitats featuring a wider range of food sources and shelter. We define this as connectivity.

The opportunity for a property to foster connectivity plays an important role in determining whether a covenant should be applied to it.

Through private land conservation, we are continuing to build these links

– connecting public reserves, such as national parks to smaller private properties and reducing the pressure that a fragmented landscape, with its roads, fences and urban areas, creates for wildlife.

Want to be part of a movement of people conserving nature through private land conservation?

If you have a rural property in NSW that you would like to covenant and protect, read more here.


[1] WWF 2014 Australia’s safety net - ~17% in NRS ~8.3% in national parks
[2] Building Nature’s Safety Net 2014 report by WWF-Australia