In 1984, the South Australian government noted that the St Aubins Scrubland Reserve, which is in the south west of the State, “represents one of the “strongholds” of native vegetation in the Frances district which further emphasises the importance of retaining areas of native vegetation in this district”. Within the Reserve, 280 ha is uncleared Buloke (Allocasuarina luehmannii) woodland, which in 1999 was declared an endangered plant community. The St Aubin’s woodland is the largest known area of buloke woodland in South Australia and one of the largest in Australia.
Because of the natural diversity within the St Aubins Buloke woodland, it could be an important source of propagation material for Bulokes, as well as a range of other species, for local Buloke Woodland revegetation projects.
Given the quality of the vegetation and the location of the St Aubins Scrubland Reserve in relation to the Geegeela Conservation Park, its sale to the South Australian government was seen by the owner be an important action to meet one of the recommendations of the community’s recovery plan. That is taking significant stands of the endangered community out of private ownership.
However, despite the conservation value of the site and the expected limited conservation costs after purchase, the likely amount to be paid to the property owners for the plant community would still only have been the same as a piece of cleared land. To address this, a review of the site, the plant community and the associated literature was done. This was done to provide the property owner with further information about the worth of their land.