We've created a way to start protecting nature, today.
Home to mountainous vistas, tall trees, and fern-rich gullies, lies Crowes Lookout, only 170 kilometres south-west of Melbourne near the scenic town of Lavers Hill in the Otway Ranges. Crowes Lookout is characterised by towering trees of Mountain Grey-gum (Eucalyptus cypellocarpa), Southern Blue-gum (Eucalyptus globulus), and Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua), reaching over 60 metres tall and providing an arboreal ecosystem of micro-bats, gliders, and birds.
In the heart of the Victorian Riverina, one of the most productive areas of agriculture in Australia and only 250 kilometres north of Melbourne, lies Budgerum, a farming district of flat, grassy plains alongside the Avoca River. Grassland communities are some of the most highly threatened ecosystems on the planet, with grassland reserves being reduced to small, fragmented patches across the landscape as land has been converted to agriculture. For this reason, protection of the remaining native grasslands across the Victorian Riverina is critical to the long-term survival of species that call this community their home. Examples of species dependent on these grassy ecosystems include the critically endangered Plains Wanderer and the nationally endangered Turnip Copperburr.
Natural ecosystems are valued and protected, where native flora and fauna have an opportunity to flourish in a landscape where 30% of land is reserved for conservation.
Degraded landscapes are restored through revegetation, pest and weed management, erosion control and waterway revitalisation to create biodiverse and healthy ecosystems.
Remnant vegetation throughout the landscape is reconnected, providing improved genetic diversity and species resilience in isolated areas and re-establishing wildlife corridors.
I'm supporting Wilderlands because we need to do more than just planting trees - protecting biodiversity is critical in helping to preserve ecosystems for future generations to come.View Profile
So many of us feel helpless in the face of the challenge of climate change. Wilderlands is a great use of technology and what is effectively crowd sourcing to enable everyone to contribute directly.View Profile
We’re joining with the global environmental community on a mission to protect 30% of nature by 2030 as part of the international goal outlined in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
We’ve developed a nature-based credit system that enables conservation-minded individuals and businesses to provide direct support to biodiversity via the purchase of Biological Diversity Units (BDUs) which each represent 1 square metre (1m x 1m) of high conservation value land. Each unit is registered spatially (georeferenced),covers the permanent legal protection/reservation of the land and funds 20 years of tangible conservation management works.
Biological Diversity Units are not designed as a direct offset for biodiversity or habitat loss elsewhere, but rather as a mechanism to proactively support the protection and enhancement of biodiversity gain and contribute towards the 30% by 2030 target.
Science-based and supported by expert ecologists, Wilderlands provides a robust tool to enable positive change in the protection and management of biodiversity.
A Biological Diversity Unit (BDU) represents the protection of one square metre of high strategic value conservation land. Each BDU will comprise a unique and verified unit in respect of a defined area (georeferenced), that will be permanently protected and managed to maintain and enhance the integrity of its biological diversity. A BDU can only be issued and assigned once and encompasses funding for 20 years of management plus the permanent protection afforded by a legal, on-title conservation agreement (covenant). in-perpetuity protection.
Our approach is an evolution of current biodiversity compliance programs in Australia, which are broadly founded on the concept of ex-ante biodiversity “gain” compared with Business as Usual (i.e. what would happen without protection and management). Gain is derived from protection (the legal restriction of existing and future land uses that threaten biodiversity), maintenance (active management to prevent a decline in condition) and improvement (activities that improve the condition of habitat over time).
Unlike compliance markets, BDUs are not designed as a direct offset for biodiversity or habitat loss. Rather, they are a mechanism to support net biodiversity gain and contribute towards the global 30×30 target.
It’s critically important that you have confidence in the conservation projects you’re supporting, which is why we’ve secured an initial partnership with Cassinia Environmental, an Australian leader in landscape restoration, regenerative agriculture and biodiversity protection.
Established in 2002, Cassinia Environmental have delivered over 105 landscape scale projects across Australia for a diverse range of stakeholders, including State and Federal Governments, international corporations, NGOs, and Traditional Owners. With strong connections across the Victorian landscape, Cassinia Environmental is the largest covenanting partner of Trust for Nature, Victoria’s conservation covenanting body of private land.
Cassinia Environmental were recently featured in a mini-documentary commissioned by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on RE:TV detailing their work at Coorong Lakes in South Australia, a project you’re able to support through Wilderlands.
Our vision is Wilderlands will become a marketplace to support many landholders and conservation organisations to deliver conservation projects throughout Australia and around the world.
Through conservation covenants, a type of binding agreement that is permanently fixed to the title of the land, we ensure that that land is managed exclusively for conservation. These covenants are legally enforceable and the Biological Diversity Units (BDU’s) are then catalogued on a third-party register. We have detailed the process in ‘how Wilderlands works.’
Each project has land management plans which are legally binding and subject to regular reporting, site visits, and surveys ensuring these conservation practices actually happen.
We don’t just leave things there though. Delivering conservation work is costly so we’ve created an innovative approach which pays a portion of the BDU sale to the conservation manager directly, with the remaining amount placed into a trust to be paid as an annuity over a fixed 20 year term to the land manager, ensuring works continue to happen every year.
So what we’re really leveraging is existing well established biodiversity protection conservation management mechanisms across a whole new suite of properties. What Wilderlands unlocks is the ability to unitise this impact and bring it to you at an affordable price so you can start being part of this change.
Glad you asked. The Wilderlands Whitepaper has been developed by our Program Manager Nick Lewis and Chief Ecologist Chris Lindorff.
You can view it here and we encourage you to connect with us if you have questions as we welcome your feedback.
We are not. Wilderlands is a social enterprise. Whilst we are cause driven, it was important for us to recognise that there are many benefits to being privately funded, particularly given our aspirations to scale and moving quickly.
Having said this, the Wilderlands Foundation has been established concurrently – to directly support other environmental causes and charities. The Wilderlands Foundation owns 20% of Wilderlands.
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is dedicated to promoting sustainable development alongside the protection of nature.
The Convention recognises that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and microorganisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. In July 2021, the Secretariat of the CBD released the first draft of a new global biodiversity framework, to guide action worldwide through to 2030, to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people.
The draft Framework comprises 21 targets and 10 ‘milestones’ proposed for 2030, enroute to ‘living in harmony with nature’ by 2050 (See Box 1). A key draft target is to ensure that 30 per cent globally of land areas and sea areas are protected – a target known as thirty by thirty or “30×30”. Its formal adoption is slated for the fifteenth meeting of the Conference to the Parties on the CBD, anticipated in late 2022.
In 2009, 28 internationally renowned scientists identified nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the entire planet and identified the boundaries of each which define the ‘safe operating space for humanity’.
Provided we stay within these boundaries, humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
As shown in Figure 1, biodiversity loss was identified as the greatest threat, highlighting that species are becoming extinct at a rate that has not been seen since the last global mass extinction event: it is currently some 100 – 1000 times higher than what is considered a natural rate of extinction. The study noted that biodiversity loss can also have pervasive effects on how the earth system functions, and its interaction with other planetary boundaries such as increasing the vulnerability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to changes in climate and ocean acidity.
The criticality of maintaining biodiversity has also been recognised economically, with the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Risk Report listing biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top three risks for the next ten years.
Australia’s biodiversity is of global importance, recognised as mega-diverse due to both its richness and its uniqueness. It is estimated that Australia is home to as many as 560,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth, while between seven and ten per cent of all species globally are found in Australia.
The Australian environment has substantially changed since European settlement, attributed to the introduction of novel species (e.g. weeds, cane toads, predators such as cats and foxes), the clearance of native vegetation for agriculture and urban development, widespread grazing by hooved animals, disease (such as the root rot fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi) and altered fire regimes.
Feral predators such as cats and foxes have decimated many small mammal and bird populations, while habitat loss and land clearing continue to be a leading factor adding to Australia’s list of threatened species of which there are almost 2,000 formally listed.
Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2019-2030 has established three broad goals: Connect all Australians with nature, care for nature in all its diversity, and share and build knowledge. Contributing to these goals is an objective to improve the conservation management of Australia’s landscapes, waterways, wetlands and seascapes – including an increase in the number and extent of significant ecosystems and threatened species protected. In Australia, around 20 per cent of land is formally protected – so some good progress towards “30 by 30” – but more is needed with regard to both absolute area and with geospatial strategy in mind.
Alarmingly, a 2021 report from the World Wide Fund for Nature lists eastern Australia among 24 global deforestation fronts – alongside the Amazon, Borneo and Congo Basin – and Australia is the only developed nation represented on the list.