When we bought our first Conservation Reserve property in 2008, we began measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of our operations plus our car and construction loans. The goal was to offset this carbon by planting trees on our reserve. Together with our partners, between 2009 and 2016 we created 350 hectares of carbon storage by restoring cleared land with native plants.
But since then, science has confirmed we’re in a climate crisis.
And we trust the science. So our reserve has grown, in both size and scope.
With over 1C degree of warming already locked into the system, we face the dual challenge of reducing emissions while adapting to the consequences of a warmer planet.
Climate change resilience is Action Area 2 in Reimagining the Future, our Conservation Reserve strategy. Our focus is on:
- Increasing habitat quality to make sure our native wildlife have a home in the future
- Ensuring biodiversity in both plants and animals
- Monitoring plants and animals to assess if we're having the impact we want
Climate action projects
What is Habitat141?
Habitat141 is a project that aims to rebuild a wildlife ‘freeway’ for native species to travel through southeastern Australia.
Lots of the habitat and migration routes for native wildlife, particularly birds, were destroyed by colonisation and mass agriculture. For example, more than 80% of freshwater wetlands in southern Australia have been lost or seriously damaged.
Habitat141 focuses on regenerating and reconnecting the 18 million hectares of lands along the 141st degree of longitude. The what? It’s pretty much the vertical line that makes up South Australia’s border with NSW, Victoria and QLD. And it includes our Conservation Reserve.
What has this got to do with the climate crisis?
As the climate heats up, we’re seeing animals in Australia migrate south to cooler temperatures. But when their ‘freeway’, habitat or food supply is broken up by non-native habitat and farmlands, they hit a roadblock.
So we’ve been working with our partners to identify migration freeways for wildlife moving south. We’re making sure there’s food and habitat along the way and waiting for them when they arrive at the reserve.
Wildlife freeways also help animals find suitable mates. So we’re hoping to see a baby boom for:
- Bearded dragons
- Eastern snake-necked turtles
- Fiery-jewel butterflies
- Hooded robins
Traditional Knowledge is essential to climate action
We’re proud to work with the Barengi Gadgin Land Council (BGLC) and Traditional Custodians to protect our reserve from the climate crisis and to make it part of the solution.
The impact of colonisation and agriculture in Victoria’s western Wimmera region - and many other parts of the world - means native ecology is particularly vulnerable to climate change. And the CSIRO's research tells us the climate crisis will bring warmer and drier conditions across south-eastern Australia. This increases the likelihood of extreme bushfire seasons.
Fun fact: did you know Bank Australia began as the CSIRO Co-operative Credit Society back in 1957? And now we’re using their climate science. Amazing.