Sunday, August 14, 2022

Strong demand for QE11 conservation

The QE11 National Trust has passed 5000 approved and registered covenants and formal agreements, closing on 200,000ha of total land area throughout the country.

QE11 National Trust chief executive Dan Coup says despite covid, or perhaps partly because of it, demand for QE11’s services is very high.

The QE11 National Trust has passed 5000 approved and registered covenants and formal agreements, closing on 200,000ha of total land area throughout the country.

Forests accounted for 45% of registered covenants, followed by grasslands and tussock lands at 27%.

At the end of the trust’s 2021 financial year it had 4912 registered covenants and a further 134 new proposals approved and being actioned.

During the 44th financial year, 128 new registrations were added, covering 1830ha of protected lands.

QE11 National Trust owns 26 properties and has one licence to occupy.

The annual report says Northland had the largest number of registered covenants, 761, followed by Waikato with 691.

Approved, but awaiting registration at balance date, were 47 in Taranaki, 42 each in Canterbury and Waikato and 29 for Manawatū-Whanganui.

Canterbury has the greatest area of covenanted land classified as acutely or chronically threatened, over 4000ha, whereas Gisborne has over 50% of its covenants in those categories.

The Manaaki Whenua threatened environments classification is acute for less than 10% of indigenous cover left, and chronically when 10-20% indigenous cover left.

Trust chief executive Dan Coup says despite covid, or perhaps partly because of it, demand for QE11’s services is very high.

It has been challenging to keep up with demand in some parts of the country and securing additional funds for more staff members has been a priority, he said.

Government funding was obtained through the Jobs for Nature programme for the trust’s Protecting the Gains category of work.

Over four years, the trust expects to be able to protect 260 more pieces of land over and above baseline funding.

The annual operating budget is approximately $6 million, of which 80% comes from Vote Conservation and the remainder from investments, memberships, contestable funding, other grants and generous benefactors.

During the year, trust representatives made 1865 monitoring visits to existing covenants and found that 89.5% had no issues requiring attention, leaving 195 that did require some attention, 50 of which had been resolved when the report was written.

As statutory trustee of all covenants, monitoring is carried out every few years to check on the condition of the protected values and discuss any threats and management issues with the landowners.

Landowners are responsible for complying with the conditions set out in the covenant.

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