At the end of the recent Holbrook Landcare Bushlinks project, one of the highest ranked reasons amongst the participating landholders for undertaking revegetation and other Landcare-type works was to maintain or improve land values.
The recent release of the median land values report by Rural Bank ( www.ruralbank.com.au) has reinforced the strong nature of rural land values in our region.
From a real estate point of view, properties with a good history of Landcare - shelterbelts, creeks and gullies fenced and erosion stabilised, soil management and farm management records - provide potential buyers with more. In general, these sorts of works give the impression that a property has been well cared for and is a good investment.
They contribute to the aesthetic of a property as well as the production capability.
For grazing enterprises, the value of remnant and planted vegetation is easily realised in the returns from production.
For cropping properties this is less clear, but there is a lot of research currently around the role native vegetation plays in the provision of services such as pollination and pest control – the balance of habitat for beneficial insects for pollination and bats for pest insect control.
The banks are becoming more aware - National Australia Bank (NAB) has introduced their Natural Value Strategy that recognises the risks to farm businesses of the degradation of natural resources.
The soil, vegetation and wildlife that provide ecosystem services to farming enterprises are so important for the long-term maintenance of production and asset value.
Landcare assets and activities are likely to have an impact on cash lending behaviour in the future. If a bank can see a long term sustainable land management plan, they will be more confident.
It is well accepted that the value of land underpins farm businesses and rural communities, so improving land value is contributing to the social fabric of our region.