Tree change for koalas project receives funding
The Macleay Valley is recognised by the New South Wales Government as being part of an ‘Area of Regional Koala Significance’. Unfortunately, local studies suggest that koalas in this area, like so many others across Australia, are in decline due to numerous factors.
Andy Vinter, Landcare Officer with the Macleay Landcare Network, said, “The increasing awareness of the decline in koala populations is driving a desire in the community to support conservation efforts by increasing koala food and habitat by conducting re-vegetation plantings.”
The Macleay Landcare Network was recently awarded a Konica Minolta Landcare Grant funded by Konica Minolta employee donations and company matching. The Grant will help the Network implement its Tree Change for Koalas project. The goal is to grow plants that will eventually restore koala habitat and compensate its population decline due to the recent bush fires.
This project will support the capacity of three volunteer-run community nurseries to grow and supply appropriate koala food and habitat tree species according to provenance and land type. The project also seeks to improve the level of understanding of appropriate planting design and care for koala habitat for landholders and the wider community.
There is evidence that koalas have a unique gut microflora adapted to digest local grown trees. Based on this, the three nurseries involved in the project will specifically grow plants from locally collected seed.
The koala food and habitat trees will propagated in the nurseries and then distributed to landholders and relevant local community groups for revegetation projects in the Macleay Valley.
“These revegetated areas will provide an additional refuge for Koala during times of natural disaster. It’s a long term strategy as it takes years for the trees to grow big enough to feed a healthy koala population,” said Andy.
Resources will be developed to document and promote these activities including koala planting lists for the major land types in the local area.
The project is also receiving significant in-kind support from local project partners. Volunteers will contribute approximately 1000 hours participating in project activities.