Humans have been tracking biodiversity loss since the 15th century, but the term ‘conservation of ecology’ didn’t enter our lexicon until the early 1900s and the term ‘biodiversity’ only surfaced in the mid-1980s. Today, ‘biodiversity’ and the ‘conservation of species’ stand prominent on the global stage, linked to international and local policies on sustainable development and climate change.

Our understanding of these terms is so significant today, with biodiversity loss being identified by multiple scientific sources as the global process with the greatest threat to the regulation of stability and resilience of the entire planet. Indeed, global biodiversity has declined rapidly in recent decades, with grave consequences for human health and well-being, and sustainable development.

Environmental forums and conventions around the world have all highlighted the social and economic risks associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, and call for urgent and immediate action to combat further degradation to the health of our natural environment.

Our environmental track record in Australia is nothing short of embarrassing. Australia is one of the most species rich (biodiverse) and species unique (high endemism) places on the planet, yet we have created such an unstable and fragile environment through over-zealous land clearing, introductions of alien species, and inappropriate land use, that many species are left vulnerable and on the brink of local and regional extinction. Many ecosystem functions have been permanently altered.

Australia’s network of protected areas currently covers 20% of the country’s landmass (over 150 million hectares), made up of commonwealth, state, and territory reserves, indigenous lands, and private reserves under legislative agreements. Whilst this may sound impressive, many species continue to struggle in landscapes of competing human interests, pest plant and animal pressures, and insufficient representation within the reserve system.

Wilderlands is joining with the global environmental community to help realise a goal of 30% by 2030, an international goal set by the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Most importantly, our collective efforts need to focus on the ecosystem and species that are at most threat of extinction, poorly represented in our reserve systems, and at greatest risk of further decline. We need, therefore, a strategic approach. In Australia, and across the world, this means working with a wide range of partners, from individuals to environment groups, corporations and governments, traditional owners and farmers.

Wilderlands has developed a nature-based credit system that enables conservation-minded individual and businesses to provide direct support to biodiversity via the purchase of Biological Diversity Units (BDUs). Each BDU represents 1 square metre (1m x 1m) of high conservation value land, is registered spatially (georeferenced) and translates to tangible conservation management works and legal protection/reservation of the land.

Simply put, your purchase of a BDU is linked to a particular conservation project and directly enables biodiversity enhancement works to be undertaken. A BDU purchase is a claim to the protection of high conservation value land and the delivery of conservation management actions that enhance your chosen ecosystem.

BDUs are not designed as a direct offset for biodiversity or habitat loss elsewhere, but rather a mechanism to support new biodiversity gain and contribute towards the 30% by 2030 target. Science-based and supported by expert ecologists, Wilderlands provides you with a robust tool to enable positive change to biodiversity.

As a member of Wilderlands, you will be able to closely track the progress of works being undertaken by land managers and conservation officers, and read stories about the projects you are funding through the BDUs, including the differences being made to threatened species, protection of fragile ecosystems, and progress of revegetation efforts that connect our natural landscape.Further information can be found in the Whitepaper, etc and encourage you to explore our current projects and become as enthusiastic about the natural world as we are here at Wilderlands.

Chris Lindorff, Wilderlands Chief Ecologist, is an experienced ecologist and land manager with a degree in Science, and Forest Science, from University of Melbourne.