From little things, big things grow

Considerations for placing your property under a voluntary conservation agreement.

From little things, big things grow

It was suggested to me that our story is one that is both great and inspiring and that it would be good to share with other landholders. I am not sure that it is great but I hope that it is inspiring enough to cause other land holders to consider placing their property under a voluntary conservation agreement (VCA).

Our journey started in 1985 when my wife Lizzie and I purchased 42 acres of forested land in Booroobin (between Maleny and Peachester), which we named Elysium. In 1991 we were fortunate to be able to purchase another parcel of 50 acres which is located a couple of kilometres down the road. After building and living at Elysium, we decided to sell it and move to our other block Downderoad which had a more suitable paddock for our horses. With the help of council’s conservation partnerships officer Nick Clancy, we were able to protect the 30 acres of forest at Elysium, by putting in place a voluntary tree protection order which has served to protect the flora and fauna of Elysium. We sold Elysium and moved to our 50 acre parcel Downderoad in 2004.

With my background in the Queensland land registry (the Titles Office) I was fully aware of the legislation in relation to covenants and I was and still am, very comfortable with the concept.

About 2 years ago we arranged through the council for the registration of a VCA over approximately 30 acres of our forest country which extends down to the Stanley River.

Both my wife and I firmly believe that by placing areas under any sort of permanent protection such as a VCA adds value to a property as it serves to clearly demonstrate that our property is very special and of such high ecological importance that it is in the interest of all to protect it.

Glossy black cockatoo habitat

We all know that properties such as ours can no longer be commercially successful for conventional farming without being detrimental to the natural environment and catchment area. Any short term monetary gain from tree harvesting usually causes the destruction of other valuable forest species, an example being Forest sheoaks which are the feed source of the glossy black cockatoos that frequent our property. Dozer tracks on steep slopes can also cause erosion. In our opinion the best use of such land is using it as a lifestyle parcel enjoying the native flora and fauna. The placement of any permanent protection of the native flora and fauna ensures that the investment in such properties continues to grow in the future.

Our decision to place our forest country under a VCA has proved to be very successful and personally rewarding. Not only do we receive professional advice on how to best look after the flora and fauna contained in the VCA, we also receive an annual budget from council which is used to engage contractors to help reduce weeds which allows for natural regeneration of native vegetation which in turn supports our wildlife.

Recently we have been fortunate enough to be able to purchase an additional 50 acres which adjoins our original 50. With the assistance of council we are about to double our current VCA to include a further 30 acres of the forested country which also extends down to the Stanley River. The area will build on the protected area available for glossy-black cockatoos, koalas as well as the endangered giant barred-frogs.

Over 60 acres protected since 1985

The result of our humble beginnings in 1985 has resulted in over 60 acres of beautiful forest and over half a kilometre of Stanley River frontage being placed under a covenant that will be protected forever, long after we have departed from this world and enables us to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

We encourage anyone who is fortunate enough to be the temporary custodian (owner) of a forested rural land parcel to consider placing some sort of permanent protection like a VCA over part of their property. If all land owners placed even a small part of their land under permanent protection we would all be able to witness what the title of this article states, from little things big things grow.

Together we can make a difference.

Article by Rod Peterson, Booroobin.