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.”
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.
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.