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Byron Shire Council looks to local farmers to create new koala habitats

Byron Shire Council looks to local farmers to create new koala habitats
May 8, 2020

Byron Shire Council is appealing to more local farmers to consider planting suitable koala food trees to establish a sustainable habitat for threatened koalas.

Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Liz Caddick advised that there were some great examples of regenerative farming successes around the Byron Shire and that these farmers had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

Caddick notes “we are pleased to be able to help landowners with ecological restoration that supports koala habitat through planting programs.

“Koalas need habitat corridors that allow them to move safely between the eastern and western reaches of the shire facilitating greater genetic diversity, which leads to healthier populations.

“Often we need to use privately-owned farmland to provide these critical links and that’s where our Shire’s farmers come into the picture.”

Around 10 years ago, Lindsay Murray put aside 15% of his cattle farm in Myocum and adopted regenerative farming practices that now provide important habitat connection for threatened koalas, as well as other wildlife.

Murray highlights “the land was completely cleared between 1900 and 1910 and we have been working towards establishing wildlife habitat with successive plantings every year. We hear and see koalas in the area, and koala food trees form an important part of our planting strategy.”

The koala habitat planting was supported by the Saving our Species North East Hinterland Koala Conservation and Recovery Project, Byron Shire Council and Zero Emissions Byron.

To connect a Big Scrub remnant and prior habitat planting, one thousand trees were planted along a riparian corridor with primary koala food trees Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) and Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) included in the mix.

Areas of the property where habitat has been re-established are well protected on the cattle farm.

Murray added “planted environmental areas are electronically fenced off from cattle and we use temporary electric fencing to move the cattle around every second day.”

Over the past ten years of plantings, Murray has learnt through experience how to replant areas successfully and on a tight budget and explains “using wooden stakes makes trees easier to find during the maintenance phase, while using a hole punch or mini-auger to dig holes speeds planting up a lot. We also use old coffee sacks as mulch mats to reduce weed growth and preserve soil moisture around the seedlings.

“As a Land for Wildlife member, we are eligible for grants and support with planting projects. Every year we have an enthusiastic group of friends and neighbours who come out and help put trees in the ground.”

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17th February 2020 - Clever detection dogs track down both threatened koalas and rare plants

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20th November 2019 - Byron Bay Main Beach project launches

16th November 2019 - Taronga Conservation calls for urgent funding to address emerging koala crisis

5th August 2019 - Byron Shire upgrades dispensers to keep beaches and parks clean

5th June 2019 - Byron Bay named among world’s worst locations for overtourism

5th March 2019 - Byron Shire Council steps up efforts to reduce cigarette litter on beaches

26th February 2019 - NSW Government to boost Koala population and improve national park access

11th December 2018 - Improved mapping leads to better outcomes for koala habitat

7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050

18th July 2018 - Gold Coast City Council looks to boost local koala habitat

14th July 2018 - World-class koala research facility operational at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

7th July 2018 - Australian Reptile Park welcomes record koala breeding season

7th May 2018 - NSW Government announces koala reserves in attempt to reverse declining populations

19th November 2017 - Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife backs creation of new Victorian koala habitat

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