Dr Steven Enticott Gives Radio Interview on Biodiversity Conservation

Many factors have led to Australia’s small mammal extinction crisis, including habitat loss, bushfire threat, and invasive predators. So, what can be done?

In a recent radio interview, our co-Director Dr Steven Enticott discusses the challenges facing Australia’s threatened fauna species, his own passion for conservation, and novel solutions that are part of the emerging ‘business of biodiversity’ space, such as bandicoots improving grazing productivity on farms!

A Conservation Legacy

Stony Rises, our property in south-west Victoria, on volcanic stony rise country near Colac, has been in the Enticott family since the 1970’s. Dr Steve talks about his family’s history of conservation, and the appreciation and passion for nature it has instilled in him throughout his life.

“It’s something Dad put into us very early, when I was 3, 4, 5 years old, he bought a block of land out in the Stony Rises, which is in the Western part of Victoria, it was run down farming land and we grew up blocking up all the drains, filling up the wetlands again. [It’s] the journey over a lifetime of watching that land turn from rubbish, back into beautiful habitat and wetlands”.

Dr Steve speaks on the well-established challenges of species recovery in Australia:

"It’s relatively easy to bring back the flora- you can exclude livestock, a lot of the seeds are there, and it will come back. The tricky part is the fauna- Australia is overrun with foxes and cats that decimate the little marsupials in particular.”

An aerial shot of a wetland and forest landscape
Stony Rises wetlands flourishing with return of natural hydrology and regeneration of the native seed bank.

Predator-proof Sanctuaries part of the Solution

Predator-proof sanctuaries are starting to appear all over Australia, and whilst there are debates for and against them, the unfortunate reality is our threatened species will not survive outside the fence.

Our partners Odonata are trialling an exciting conservation-farming model within their fenced-sanctuary network. At Tiverton, a property just a stone’s throw from the Stony Rises, fine merino wool is produced alongside a thriving population of Eastern Barred Bandicoots. Bandicoots are in abundance thanks to a 6-metre-tall predator-proof fence around the farm’s perimeter.

Dr Steve speaks to the beneficial relationship of these little ‘ecosystem engineers’ living harmoniously with grazing animals:

"They’re the soil engineer. Soil is turned over by these little marsupials, it creates looser soil, which creates holes, the rains come along and increase the moisture content in the soil. Without these little critters doing that, you’d have to plough […]. They’re actually part of the solution. They increase the productivity of the land.”

It's a real win-win. The wool is being grown is much higher value and attracts a greater price margin because consumers want to buy wool that is grown with the environment at the forefront.

An Eastern Barred Bandicoot sits under a large gum tree at night
Nocturnal Eastern Barred Bandicoots are nature’s ecosystem engineers, pictured here at Mt Rothwell predator-proof sanctuary.

Nature-Positive Business the Future

Nowadays, there are any number of carbon calculator tools easily accessible online, making it simple for individuals or businesses to go carbon neutral. But there’s another step we encourage businesses to take, which is becoming nature-positive.

We’re demonstrating that the cost involved to become nature-positive will be returned to you in spades. Customers want to know what your business is doing for nature and the climate. Employees want to work for companies that are doing good things for nature.

Dr Steve speaks further on the benefits of going nature-positive with your business:

"You should have a climate project going, you should be telling your customers, you should be telling your staff and involving them. It’s a cost-neutral expense, but it’s actually providing enormous benefit to your business.”

In ten years’ from now, Dr Steve predicts all businesses will have a climate project. It’s much the same as ten years ago, when all businesses knew about the emergence of cloud computing- and now everyone is on it.

A Time of Hope

It’s a period of hope for us, we’re connecting people with climate credible projects, including our own. We’re making a real on-ground impact with our business approach to conservation.

Contact us today to discuss how we can guide you on your nature-positive journey and reap the benefits for your business.

Carbon Landscapes are pleased to announce an exciting body of work, an initial vegetation survey on our Telopea Downs property, has been completed.

Renowned flora expert Tim D’Ombrain was engaged to undertake a survey which has resulted in comprehensive mapping of vegetation types on our 800-hectare Mallee Woodland and Shrubland property in Victoria’s west.

Shedding light on the species that make up our rich ecological communities, the comprehensive list of shrubs, trees and grasses found on site included at least four species that are rare, or nominated as threatened, in Victoria.

The initial survey to collect baseline data yielded 1851 flora records, 47 fauna records and 680 georeferenced photographs.

Desert bush extends to the horizon, shrubs and sand in the foreground, mature trees in the background

A Haven for Woodland Birds and Malleefowl

The results are heartening for the critically endangered Mallee Emu-Wren (Stipiturus mallee) and other small woodland bird species, who rely on unburnt Porcupine Grass (Triodia scariosa) and associated dense understory for their habitat. Triodia is abundantly scattered throughout the property.

With our friends Zoos Victoria and Odonata, we are creating a safe haven for the Mallee Emu-wren, to supplement the reintroduction of the species into the nearby Big Desert Wilderness Park, which was once a stronghold for the species.

Evidence of an inactive Malleefowl mound coupled with sightings of Malleefowl tracks entering the property from the southern boundary are promising signs of Malleefowl occupancy. We have positioned cameras at strategic points along the fence lines to capture images, with the cameras to be checked in the coming months.

Malleefowl mound at Carbon Landscapes' Telopea Downs property
A disused Malleefowl mound found on our Telopea Downs property hints at Malleefowl occupancy of the site.
Person kneeling along fence line placing camera to capture images of Mallefowl
Mallee expert Merinda Thorpe sets up a camera to capture Malleefowl images.

A Tree-mendous Discovery

A number of rare or threatened species were found to occur on the property.

Perhaps most exciting were several significant stands of the rare Green-leaf Mallee (Eucalyptus phenax subsp. Phenax) (pictured below) thriving on clay soil in lower lying areas that have never been mapped.

This species is listed as rare in Victoria and is otherwise known from only a small number of sites in the region, consisting of a few individuals. The Green-leaf Mallee has a distinctive understorey, and the populations on our property may well be the largest in the state.

Other rare flora and fauna included Common Sour-bush (Choretrum glomeratum), Tufted Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea caespitosa) and Chestnut Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castanotum), nominated for listing as threatened in Victoria.

Molineaux Sands, the predominant soil type on the property, supports Scrub Pine, Desert Stringybark, Desert Banksia and associated species on the dunes. Large, relatively flat areas support Mallee Eucalypt woodland dominated by Yellow Mallee and Slender-leaf Mallee.

Green leaf Mallee at Telopea Downs
Green-leaf Mallee (Eucalyptus phenax subsp. Phenax) is listed as rare in Victoria.

Survey Just the Beginning

Given the extensive size of the property, the Southwest corner remains unmapped, and surveying will be completed in Spring 2022. Additionally, we will be coordinating a bird count on the property in Spring, and will be seeking interested volunteers closer to the date.

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn and social media for further updates.

427 South Rd, Bentleigh 
VIC 3204 Australia

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In the spirit of reconciliation Carbon Landscapes acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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