Supporting WWF to explore biodiversity co-benefits in Central Queensland

QTFN is supporting another initiative funded by the Queensland Government as part of the Pilot Projects Program of the Land Restoration Fund. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia’s (WWF) Protecting Threatened Species and Restoring Grazing Land project in Central Queensland is helping to kickstart the biodiversity co-benefits market in Queensland.

Like our Counting the Co-Benefits project at Aroona Station, the project is exploring how carbon abatement can be delivered alongside measurable environmental, social, economic and First Nations co-benefits.

WWF has identified priority areas for vegetation protection and restoration in Great Barrier Reef Catchments. Beef producers within those priority areas were invited to participate in a pilot project to examine carbon farming using Human Induced Regeneration with biodiversity co-benefits on grazing land.

Three producer families in Central Queensland joined the project and agreed to collaborate to examine carbon and biodiversity opportunities on their properties.

During 2020, our experienced ecologists were engaged by WWF to conduct field assessments on three privately held grazing properties in the catchment to determine their ecological value.

Working closely with the landowners, we established a baseline of each property’s ecology, and provided recommendations for how land management and conservation techniques could be deployed to improve ecological value.

Already using sustainable, best management practices on their cattle properties, the landholders are highly motivated to do more to protect and enhance their land’s biodiversity and tap into environmental markets that reward their conservation efforts and outcomes.

The ecological assessments conducted by QTFN highlighted previously unknown populations of vulnerable greater glider (Petauroides Volans) on two of the properties surveyed, including Murray and Wendy Gibson’s cattle property Coonabar, north of Rolleston, which they manage in partnership with their son Cameron and his wife, Kristy.

For 22 years, the Gibsons have been using cell grazing – matching stocking rates to carrying capacity – to maximise ecosystem health and business profitability.

Their considered approach to land management has included allowing regrowth to grow back in strips, with a time-controlled grazing system to manage pasture in-between the naturally regenerating strips.

This unique style of property management has increased the strength and resilience of their grazing land as well as their property’s natural capital.

The first time a comprehensive ecological assessment has been carried out on the property, Cameron and Kristy and their three sons were thrilled to have the opportunity to better understand the flora, fauna and ecosystems they support.

This includes threatened poplar box (Eucalyptus populnea) and brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) ecosystems, threatened species such as greater glider, koala and the vulnerable ornamental snake (Denisonia maculate), as well as abundant birdlife and a host of frogs.