The Tasmanian Land Conservancy recently helped to establish a new conservation covenant at Randalls Bay, in Tasmania’s far south. The 28.5 ha parcel of land, owned by the Friends of Randalls Bay Coastcare Group (FORB), is rich in biodiversity, including habitat for the critically endangered swift parrot and other nationally threatened species.
In 2018, FORB made history when it raised the money to purchase the Randalls Bay ‘Quarry block’ from the Huon Valley Council, making it the first Coastcare group in Tasmania to own land. This year, local resident Paul Thomas donated two additional titles to FORB which adjoin the Quarry block. This generous gift consolidates the long-term preservation of one of the most beautiful beach precincts in Tasmania.
At a recent event celebrating the transfer of ownership, FORB’s Co-ordinator Maxine Blackaby said that ‘Paul’s generosity, embracing of the community, care for the environment, and vision to safeguard the future of the area in which he grew up is an amazing gift’. FORB has more than 100 members who regularly get together for working bees on the property. Thousands of hours have been dedicated to weed control and other activities by FORB volunteers to conserve the natural values of the land.
The main purpose of the covenant was to protect a significant patch of black gum (Eucalyptus ovata) forest on the FORB land. This critically endangered ecosystem has declined by more than 90% in Tasmania and is listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Intact patches of black gum forest larger than two hectares are rare, and worth every effort to protect.
For the last two years the TLC has been working in partnership with NRM South to protect critical areas of black gum forest. To date the project has protected 53 ha of black gum forest under conservation covenants. On-ground works to improve the condition of black gum remnants, including weeding, fencing and revegetation, have also been undertaken. You can read more about this project, which is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, on an earlier blog Checking in on a critically endangered community.