Microbats, Ringtail Possums, and Sugar Gliders are just some native animals making use of innovative artificial hollows in dead trees across the NSW Southern Highlands, an area which is known to support a diverse range of native wildlife.
In the past two years, more than 40 hollows have been created in bushland along the Wingecarribee River, as part of the Wall to Wollondilly project.
Extensive monitoring of the hollows, by expert ecologist Narawan Williams, has showed tremendous success. Now more than half the hollows have been inhabited or shown signs of occupation by animals, providing much-needed homes for threatened and key native species in the region.
The hollows have been monitored every six months using both motion sensor cameras and manual inspection of hollows for evidence of inhabitation.
“We’re very excited to see such positive results, in a very short space of time,” said Greening Australia project manager, Ian Rayner.
“Seeing these new homes working so well for native animals gives us great motivation to continue working with landholders to protect our remaining old trees with hollows, as well as creating new hollows with this method.”
“More than half the hollows were inhabited, or showed signs of occupation by animals, even though some had only been constructed a few months ago. The target species of microbats, possums and gliders were present, and no evidence was found of pest animals using the hollows. Following this great success, we’ll be continuing to build new homes for target species over the next year.”
The hollows are being created in collaboration with local arborists, All Scale Tree Services, who make certain the old trees are safe and stable. One or more hollows are then cut or drilled into the trunk or branches, with specifically sized and shaped entry holes depending on the key target species. Both standing and fallen dead trees are used.
“People often see a dead tree and think of it as a liability, but these dead trees still provide vital habitat for wildlife for many years. An important part of our work is raising awareness and showing people that these trees are still a beautiful and useful part of the landscape,” said Mr Rayner.
Wall to Wollondilly is a collaboration between Greening Australia, Wingecarribee Shire Council, Local Land Services, local Landcare groups and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, thanks to funding and support from the NSW Government Environmental Trust’s Bush Connect Program.
In addition to establishing artificial hollows, Wall to Wollondilly is engaging local community members and landholders along the Wingecarribee River to restore Platypus habitat, revegetate and conserve land, control woody weeds, and improve water quality.
The river serves as a major wildlife corridor, linking the coastal escarpment with the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and NSW Central Tablelands.
“Collaborating with and involving the local community in projects like this, that improve habitat and landscape connectivity, is not only rewarding but critical for the survival of our native wildlife,” said Mr Rayner.
If you’d like to get involved with the Wall to Wollondilly project, join us for a Breakfast with the Birds and help celebrate National Bird Week – RSVP at https://breakywithbirds.eventbrite.com.