In late 1999 the company acquired 121.4 ha of former farming land near Rockleigh in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges, Map 1. This was made possible by the generous financial assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the National Reserves System Program. As part of this acquisition partnership with the Australian Government, Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd was required to submit, and have approved, a Property Management Plan for the land . It included a statement of management objectives and the planning process used as below.
The management objectives for this land (at time of purchase) were:
- Protection and enhancement of the unique vegetation, habitats and species of the area.
- Eradication or control of pest plants and animals.
- Prevention and rehabilitation of land degradation including wind and water erosion and dryland salinity.
- Encouraging natural regeneration wherever possible.
- Provision for controlled public access to the land, subject to a director’s approval.
The land will be managed in accordance with the IUCN Catergory III, National Monument: Protected Area, managed for conservation of specific natural features, This is specified as an area containing one or more natural or natural/cultural features which is of outstanding value because of its inherent rarity, representative or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance.
The area will be managed for biodiversity conservation and will be protected in perpetuity by a Heritage Agreement with the SA Government.
The planning process comprised the following:
- Mapping and describing the important landscape features and vegetation associations.
- Listing the plants and animals recorded on the property, and where relevant, their conservation status.
- Detailing appropriate management practices.
- Consulting with neighbours and interested groups eg local Landcare group, Local action Planning, State Aboriginal Heritage Committee, Soil Conservation Board, local catchment group and local government , in developing the draft management plan.
The original proposal for the acquisition of the land was made on the basis of the significance of the remnant vegetation, which is very poorly conserved in the area. The Eden Valley Environmental Association is only 0.08% conserved and this project will expanded the conserved area (Department of Environment and Heritage).
At the time of purchase in 1999, at least 210 plant species have been recorded, of which 62 are of conservation significance in the Murray Botanical Region-Appendix IV . Several species are of State significance, others were new records for the Murray Region and were yet to be rated. Significant vegetation associations include the Banksia marginata and Melaleuca brevifolia woodlands. There are also significant stands of Eucalyptus porosa, E. leucoxylon, E. fasciculosa , and Callitris preissii.
The purchase of this unique land was made possible by a generous grant from the Commonwealth of Australia through the National Reserves System Program of the Natural Heritage Trust.
This revision of the original plan prepared by WE Matheson (2000) for the Australian Government, by XXXX and XXXX, with input from Bushland Directors and shareholders, is part of a planned property management update process of all Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd properties.