For most of European settlement Poplars has been pastoral land, used mainly for sheep grazing and the production of fine wool. Poplars was originally granted to George Thomas Palmer in 1837 before passing eventually to the present owners, the Halloran/Larcombe family, in 1937.
By a combination of good fortune and conscientious grazing practices, a large portion of Poplars contains some of the original woodland and grassland ecological communities in good condition. These ecological communities were widespread historically but, occurring as they do on prime grazing land, are now rare and endangered. At Poplars they are protected and managed for biodiversity conservation.
The Poplars Grassland Reserve comprises of around 100 ha of conservation area. The grasslands fall under the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement, with permanent protection granted to preserve an important concentration of the endangered Button Wrinklewort plant.
Poplars also contains Natural Temperate Grasslands and patches of Box-Gum Woodland, both of which are Commonwealth and/or NSW listed endangered ecological communities. The communities contain endangered or vulnerable species of interest including Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla), Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella), Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana), Button Wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides), and regionally uncommon plant species such as the Fan Grevillea (Grevillea ramossissima).
For ecological communities to persist and thrive it is important that there are linkages to similar nearby areas. Poplars is linked to the neighboring Queanbeyan Natural Reserve and ACT grasslands nature parks to the north. Linkages continue southward to Environa and Tralee grasslands and woodlands and eastward to the Googong escarpment.
The ecological communities on Poplars have been a driver for innovative research and assessment methods and has contributed to the adoption of new planning approaches.
These lands require considerable effort and resources to manage to ensure the endangered species and communities survive. This includes scientific monitoring, fencing and most importantly weed and pest animal control.
Poplars works closely with Queanbeyan Landcare to ensure proper management.
The owners, the Larcombe family, remain committed to the conservation of the natural heritage in the Capital Region. In addition to the Poplars conservation areas they have set aside extensive areas further to the south to protect a range of ecological communities and species within the Wandiyali-Environa Conservation Area.