I was recently involved in exploring a range of possible actions for reducing biodiversity loss in Australia to include in a submission to the Biodiversity 100 campaign. One of the actions that we discussed (but which was not included in the final set published in the Guardian) was to secure a proportion of native remnant vegetation on all agricultural properties, as well as provide financial rewards to farmers who implemented management actions that were directly linked to conservation.
Agricultural land comprises 473 million hectares or nearly 62 percent of the Australian continent, so there is a clear need to engage with private landholders in order to achieve conservation outcomes across large parts of the country. As the potential to secure more protected areas diminishes, the need to implement sustainable management practices on private land becomes more pressing. Providing economic incentives to landholders in response to a direct management action would place environmental services on the market, while contributing to biodiversity conservation. Financial incentives may come in the form of subsidies or through a market-based system where payments may be administered on a competitive basis.