Neil outlined the ways that TFN works to achieve its mission statement of “The Trust will strive to ensure that all significant natural areas in private ownership in Victoria are conserved”. Since 1830, 65% of natural vegetation has been cleared and 2000 hectares per year are still being cleared.
Methods which TFN uses to achieve its goals include:
1. Land Purchase. Churchill Island and Ned’s Corner are examples. Ned’s Corner contains the largest saltbush plain in Victoria and has a 34 km frontage to the Murray River. It also has areas of Black Box Woodland and Mallee.
2. Public Appeals. Mt Elgin Swamp was purchased with money raised by a public appeal. The 700 hectare swamp is vegetated with canegrass, lignum and red gum.
3. Buy and Selling Covenanted Land. The trust buys land, puts a conservation covenant on the title and sells the land to environmental aware people. Advertising covenanted land in the Conservation Bulletin is free.
4. Conservation Covenants. Over 1000 blocks of land now have conservation covenants on the title. This ensures conservation of the natural vegetation for all time. Financial incentives to place covenants on land include payment for ongoing management and rate rebates in some local government areas.
5. Training and Education Programs TFN has an extensive program to increase knowledge of the importance of the natural environment.
Neil’s presentation was illustrated with examples of the Trust’s work in the Wimmera. Dick Southcombe thanked Neil for his talk which gave Field Naturalists a better understanding of the valuable work undertaken by Trust for Nature.