Latest monitoring finds protected and threatened species at Bank Australia’s conservation reserve

The latest monitoring at the Bank Australia conservation reserve has recorded the Fiery Jewel Butterfly and Painted Dragon at the Salvana property in Victoria’s western Wimmera region. Neither of these species had previously been recorded in the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas at this location.

A hand holding a small lizard

The Painted Dragon is endemic to drier areas of southern and central Australia, including the Wimmera in Victoria, where the conservation reserve is located. Image credit: Nature Glenelg Trust.

In partnership with Greening Australia, the recent survey of 2,117 hectares across Bank Australia’s four reserve properties assessed the impact of conservation and regeneration efforts over five years.

The survey found canopies in revegetated woodlands have increased by around 20%, providing enhanced habitat for many animals, including the adorable Western Pygmy Possum. There were nine threatened fauna species recorded across the reserve, including the South-Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

There have also been 10 threatened flora species, 143 invertebrates, 113 bird species and 17 native reptile species recorded. Invertebrate species like the Fiery Jewel Butterfly play a critical role providing vital ecosystem services such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and decomposition of food for other animals.

A butterfly on a plant.

The striking Fiery Jewel butterfly is endangered, but has now been found across three of the four properties within the conservation reserve. Image credit: Fabian Douglas.

Of the 113 unique bird species detected across the reserve, many were found in restored areas – a sign that the revegetation is performing well by providing new areas to forage and access habitat.

Among the reptiles are nine additional species not previously recorded in past surveys, which is cause for excitement for Bank Australia’s Manager Nature and Biodiversity, Bram Mason.

“My personal favourite is the Painted Dragon, which can sit comfortably on your fingertips. It finds its home among low lying logs and bark, which is a type of habitat we’re working to increase.

“Protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity is one of Bank Australia’s priorities, and it’s an issue our customers care deeply about.

“Bank Australia’s conservation reserve is home to 251 native plant and 283 native animal species, and forms an important part of the bank’s approach to using money as a force for good,” said Bram.

An image of a red tailed black cockatoo perched on a branch eating seeds.

The south-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (pictured) is one of 113 bird species that call the conservation reserve home. Image credit: Jennifer Goldsworthy.

Although there are many successes highlighted in the monitoring results, Jess Gardner, Senior Program Officer at Greening Australia, said that there were also important learning opportunities identified, including the need to further investigate climate-adjusted seeding and revegetation techniques to enhance understory diversity.

“There is no one-size fits all approach to conservation and that’s why these periodic monitoring projects are so important. It’s a chance for us to look at what has worked, identify areas for improvement and plan for the future.

“Overall we’re seeing protected bushland become a safe haven for native plants and animals, and that shows we’re heading in the right direction,” said Jess.

The monitoring survey has highlighted the importance of restoring and protecting nature now, given that nature repair takes time. This has been evident observing the differences between remnant vegetation and revegetated areas.

“We’ve seen the revegetated areas of the reserve transition from what were essentially cleared paddocks to native vegetation. But there’s more work to do if we want them to continue towards the reference ecosystem state and provide even greater biodiversity outcomes in the long term,” added Jess.

An aerial view of trees in the Wimmera, Victoria

Nature repair at the conservation reserve (pictured) takes time – that’s why it’s important to start now and conserve the nature we have left. Image credit: Bank Australia.

Survey results also highlighted some key areas of focus for the future of the reserve, including increasing understory diversity to build habitat complexity for birds and other animals, and the positive role that woody debris (such as logs) plays as a habitat for insects and reptiles.

The majority of the Bank Australia conservation reserve is protected under a covenant by Trust for Nature, which means it is protected from clearing that would harm biodiversity on the reserve. 

Want to know more? Learn about our partnership with Bank Australia or discover more stories from the conservation reserve. 

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