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Trading off at Wamberra StationTrading off at Wamberra Station

A novel land scheme pioneered by frustrated farmers in south-western NSW is turning Mallee country into conservation reserves.

Story Sue Neales photos Bruce Postle

Ned Byrnes can laugh about it now, but the fifth-generation NSW cattle farmer admits he wasn't exactly enamoured with the idea of private land conservation more than a decade ago. "I certainly wasn't a greenie," says the quietly-spoken owner of Wamberra Station, 40 kilometres north of Mildura on the road to Mungo National Park. "The first time I was asked if I would be interested in locking up some of my farm as nature reserves for good, I just laughed and said, 'that's not why I own this place.' But then I began to see the merit in the idea…."

Trading off at Wamberra StationThe concept Ned first mulled over in the late 1980s with neighbours John and Gary Doyle has grown into a unique land trade-off deal introduced on 18 Southern Mallee farms, including Wamberra Station, over the past three years. It is now being closely studied as a successful model for land-sharing and land use management by other farming and green groups across Australia. Story end

Full story Issue 30 Aug/Sept 2003

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