Territory Conservation Agreements – linking conservation and productivity
Territory Natural Resource Management, the regional NRM body for the Northern Territory, introduced the Territory Conservation Agreement (TCA) program in 2011. The aim was to encourage landholders to protect areas on their property with high conservation significance, to raise awareness among landholders of the benefits of integrated conservation management and to strengthen the off-reserve network of protected habitat. In selecting sites for inclusion, priority is given to areas in poorly represented bioregions that provide habitat to rare or threatened species, or that contain important ecological communities. TCAs seek to demonstrate the value of multiple land uses and aim to deliver conservation and enterprise benefits.
Landowners with an interest in joining the program submit an application including details about the site’s conservation value and the work required to protect it. Drawing on advice from relevant experts as well as landholder knowledge, sites are then assessed for conservation merit. Open to anyone that owns land or leases land from the Crown, funding can cover the costs of conservation planning, weed and feral control, grazing and fire management, works to preserve or restore soil and water quality and wildlife surveys. TCAs set 10 year targets for a site while tailored management actions reflect the specific conditions unique to each site. Follow-up reports and site visits continue over the term of the contract.
By the end of 2013, there were 23 contracted TCAs covering 21,828ha. Government investment has reached a total of $881,175, while landholder in-kind contributions closely match this total at $858,951.