Vale of Belvoir
State: Tasmania | Hectares: 4,295 | IUCN Category: VI | Partners: Tasmanian Land Concervancy
The securing of this valley would be the Tasmanian conservation triumph of the 21st Century.
Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, University of Tasmania
Nestled close to the jagged peaks of Tasmania's Cradle Mountain is a valley of global conservation significance - the Vale of Belvoir.
For more than 100 years Tasmania's Charleston family has managed this 500-hectare grassy valley - the last of its kind in the world.
Now not-for-profit conservation organisation the Tasmanian Land Conservancy has the opportunity to protect the property as a reserve for future generations.
The Australian Government has provided $800,000 to help the Tasmanian Land Conservancy purchase the Vale. The Conservancy is working with their supporters to raise a further $600,000 to protect and manage the Vale into the future.
The Vale of Belvoir will become part of Australia's National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting native habitat.
The Vale is home to one of the densest populations of marsupial carnivores in the world. The vulnerable Tasmanian devil and the spotted-tailed quoll are both found here, along with shy ground parrots and the rare Ptunarra brown butterflies.
Habitats include native grasslands rich in threatened plant species, rare river bank vegetation and old growth rainforests. Under the surface lies one of Australia's most unusual limestone cave river systems.
In an innovative partnership, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy will manage the Vale of Belvoir with the help of the Charleston family, ensuring the farming family's experience and knowledge continues to benefit the property.
Lisa Charleston says five generations of Charlestons have looked after the land, with the Vale of Belvoir forming a large part of the family's identity.
"It was a really difficult decision to sell it, because we have such an emotional connection to the land," she says.
"But really it seemed the best thing we could do to ensure its security well beyond our own lifetimes was to sell it to the Tasmanian Land Conservancy for conservation."
The Charlestons have grazed their cattle on the property since they first came to the area in 1896.
Their light summer grazing and cool burning patterns have kept the Vale in outstanding condition, actually mirroring traditional Indigenous land management techniques.
The family's partnership with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy will ensure this careful management continues, accompanied by strong input from environmental scientists.
Lisa Charleston says they have always had a custodian approach to managing the land.
"Because of our family's long association with the land, it goes so much deeper than just ownership," she said.
"I've always thought that you never really own a place like this - we are incredibly fortunate that we have always had that relationship with the land, which will now continue into the future."
For more information on the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Vale of Belvoir visit tasland.org.au.