Natural values and context

This expansive 11,000 hectare landscape features open grassland valleys, old-growth forests and woodlands, native grasslands, endangered sphagnum moss beds, and five river systems: the Nive, Serpentine, Pine, Little Pine and Little Rivers. It is habitat for endangered wildlife species endemic to Tasmania, including the Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and the Clarence galaxias fish. Skullbone Plains, still considered a reserve in its own right, has been incorporated into the Five Rivers Reserve landscape management methods.

Substantial areas of the Five Rivers Reserve are in or adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and neighbouring trawtha makuminya, the protected area owned and managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

A critical component of the Five Rivers Reserve project is the establishment of an efficient but effective long-term ecological monitoring program employing simple, repeatable and robust scientific data that has been gathered to inform conservation management. The establishment of the Five Rivers Reserve has been made possible through our new global partnership with Conservation International and BHP Billiton, who have provided expertise and financial support of $13.4 million respectively for conservation management of the Five Rivers Reserve. The long-term ecological monitoring program will inform management at the Five Rivers Reserve, in particular fire management and feral animal control. This unique collaboration contributes to a world-class, financially sustainable, effective nature conservation management model at a landscape-scale. In doing so, we are contributing to meeting Australia’s international obligations and the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11.

Managing Five Rivers

Five Rivers Reserve is managed at a landscape-scale, addressing issues such as access control, weed and feral animal control and fire management. This also requires maintenance and management of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, to allow continued all-weather access.

The Five Rivers story

Five Rivers was purchased from the logging company Gunns Ltd and renamed as the New Leaf Project which included 28,000 hectares of native forest. The purchase of this land was the biggest private conservation deal in Australia’s history at the time. The New Leaf project was many times greater than any previous conservation acquisition by the TLC and the properties were located in many locations across Tasmania. Following the acquisition the TLC identified which portions of land would join the list of TLC private reserves, and which properties would be partly protected with covenants and on-sold to conservation-minded buyers.

A loan from the Elsie Cameron Foundation which facilitated the purchase has been serviced through fundraising activities such as the sale of appropriately protected properties. Through the generosity of the Elsie Cameron Foundation, Australian environmental philanthropists, and many supporters, over six million dollars was raised to help us with the massive task of managing the reserve.

Banner photograph: Grant Dixon