Isolated and small patches of trees in rural landscapes are declining at a rapid rate, due to natural ageing and death, dieback, and low rates of regeneration. Research has concluded that most paddock trees could be lost from South East Australia within the next century.
Many ACT farms have areas of remnant Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodlands or Lowland Temperate Native Grasslands. Increasingly, with more security of tenure, ACT rural landholders are valuing and protecting these important environmental assets in day-to-day land management, or through specific conservation activities, such as fencing and stock exclusion.
Riparian areas are also important areas biodiversity, and provide refugia for native species especially under a changing climate. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the more rural landholders know about the biodiversity on their property, the more actively they work to protect this biodiversity.
Biodiversity, native vegetation and wildlife in rural landscapes are maintained and increased.
ACT rural lands with existing areas of high conservation value vegetation as per ACTmapi mapping, riparian corridors (Murrumbidgee, Naas, Gudgenby, Paddys River, Ginninderra Creek, Molonglo River, Woolshed Creek) and areas that provide good habitat connectivity.
Areas experiencing eucalyptus dieback are also a priority in association with further research.
Investment will be centred around capacity building and incentives for on-ground work, along with trials and demonstration projects. Focus areas include paddock trees, connectivity plantings, and management of dieback (research and revegetation).
Landholders will be supported to manage riparian areas and erosion via off-stream watering points and other related measures.
Other areas for investment include cross-farm and cross-tenure collaboration to enhance biodiversity at the landscape scale, and on-farm monitoring programs, for example photo-points, transects, community monitoring programs and camera trapping.
Building on existing investment
Greening Australia and Catchment Groups have worked with rural landholders for many years, and expertise and relationships developed provides a strong basis for future programs. The ACT Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator (ACT RALF) has also delivered a number of training programs that invest in knowledge and practice-change.