New program helps landholders turn native vegetation into income
Landholders in the South Australian Arid Lands and Northern and Yorke regions will have access to funding to manage and protect areas of native vegetation on their land through the Native Vegetation Council’s new Biodiversity Credit Exchange.
Under the program, landholders will be paid to establish and manage designated sites to generate biodiversity ‘credits’.
These credits will be sold at cost to buyers that are required to offset vegetation clearances in the same region. Presiding Member of the Native Vegetation Council Emily Jenke said the program is a great way for landholders to benefit from the development happening in their region.
“There is a significant amount of development happening in regional South Australia, particularly in the renewable energy sector,” Ms Jenke said.
“Developers that seek to clear native vegetation as part of their activities are often required to offset their impact, such as by purchasing credit generated by a conservation site owned and managed by someone else.
“The Biodiversity Credit Exchange will assist developers to meet this requirement in the most efficient way possible while enabling landholders to diversify their income.
“The first stage of program will prioritise regions where the demand for credits is highest.
“We’re seeking landholders in the South Australian Arid Lands and Northern and Yorke regions.
“There is no fee to apply and successful applicants are guaranteed to receive upfront payments for managing and setting the land aside.
“The Native Vegetation Council is pleased to present landholders with an alternative income stream and the opportunity to help protect, manage and restore the natural environment.”
The program is being delivered by the Native Vegetation Branch of the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) on behalf of the Native Vegetation Council.
Applicants can view the eligibility criteria and submit expressions of interest at www.environment.sa.gov.au/bce or contact DEWs Native Vegetation Branch on (08) 8463 4821 for more information.
If successful, a free site assessment will be performed to identify available credit and the required management actions.
Landholders will then be invited to submit a bid outlining the amount they would like to receive to establish and maintain their site.
The Native Vegetation Council works with land owners and managers that want to modify native vegetation to ensure that their impact on the landscape is sustainable.
Under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and Native Vegetation Regulations 2017, authorised clearance of native vegetation often needs to be offset by a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB).
There are a number of ways clearance applicants can achieve a SEB, including:
- On ground offset (establishing and managing a site that achieves the SEB);
- Payment into the Native Vegetation Fund (a one-off payment to be used for on ground works at the discretion of the Native Vegetation Council); and
- Purchase of SEB credit (accessing the credit generated by a SEB site owned and managed by someone else).
The Biodiversity Credit Exchange will provide an efficient and straightforward means for purchasing credit generated by a site owned and managed by someone else.