Native Vegetation Heritage agreements were introduced to South Australia in 1980 as a mechanism to allow private landowners to ensure the protection of native habitat on their properties. The scheme developed from a growing concern over the pace of the land-clearing of irreplaceable native vegetation. Land owners who took up the scheme were provided compensation for the loss of potential primary production land.

Heritage Agreements provide private landowners a legal mechanism to protect native habitat on their property. The agreement is a legally binding contract, recognised under the Native Vegetation Act 1991, between the property owner and the State Government that applies to the property title, ensuring that the area covered by the agreement is protected into the future, even when the property changes ownership. The Agreement contract specifies that native plants and animals in the nominated area are to be protected from the time the agreement is made. The nominated area can cover the entire property or a specific section of the property.

Advantages to landholders include the knowledge that they are protecting important bushland into the future, assistance with fencing to protect the nominated area from livestock, exemption from rates and taxes on the area covered by the Agreement and the opportunity to apply for government grants to aid management of the protected area.

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