Australian Wildife corridor protects species in a changing climate

01 March 2010 | News story

The world's first transcontinental wildlife corridor - stretching 3500 kilometres from the coast of the Northern Territory to the coast of South Australia - has been jointly announced today by Premier Mike Rann and NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson. Announcement by Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson and South Australia premier Mike Rann

"This wildlife corridor will cover about 1.4 million square kilometres - connecting both public and private land- to provide a continuous refuge of native habitat," Mr Rann said. "It is designed to help a huge section of Australia's native flora and fauna survive and adapt to the threats of fire, drought and other fallouts of climate change," Mr Henderson said.

To be known as 'The Trans-Australia Eco-Link',the wildlife corridor will extend from Arnhem Land to Port Augusta, making it a world first and the largest conservation corridor in Australia. The SA and NT Governments are each contributing $1.8 million to establishing the Eco-Link by 2012. The funding will be used to purchase parcels of land, assist landowners to better manage areas of their properties for conservation purposes and create incentives for landowners to better maintain areas as native habitat.

"This landscape-scale approach to conservation represents a major shift in the way our Governments are providing protection for our plants and animals," Mr Rann said. "Rather than focusing on individual species in particular locations, we're now focusing on the protection of broad areas of habitat and entire communities of plants and animals. "The Trans-Australia Eco-Link will provide greater security for native animals such as wallabies, snakes, lizards and birds by giving them improved habitat to live in, as well as the ability to move to different areas when threatened by a changing climate, fire or drought."

Mr Henderson said it will also benefit landholders and industry, by improving the quality of the land that supports them, and by providing opportunities for those whose livelihoods may be affected by climate change to diversify their activities in areas such as nature-based tourism ventures. Landholders will be offered incentives such as grants to manage their land for conservation of native habitat," he said.

Mr Rann said the Eco-Link would build on South Australia's own series of NatureLinks corridors in which existing conservation areas such as National Parks and Wilderness Protection Areas will be connected with private land where conservation activities are occurring. "In SA the Eco-Link will cover more than 600,000 square kilometres," Mr Rann said.

Plans for the next four NatureLinks corridors within SA - Flinders-Olary, Cape Borda to Barossa, River Murray-South East and Arid Lands - also have been released by the State Government. Also today the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments announced the proclamation of five new parks and three additions to parks as the next steps in the creation of NatureLinks.

The four new NatureLinks plans announced today add to the previously announced East meets West NatureLinks plan, between central Eyre Peninsula to the Western Australian border. "The NatureLinks corridors will consist of three elements: core areas of protected habitat in conservation parks, reserves and heritage agreement sites; linkage areas of remnant and restored habitat; and buffer zones to preserve these areas," Mr Rann said.

"The Government will work in partnership with conservation organisations, landholders and local communities to put these elements together.".