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Forum highlights the plight of 'homeless' native species

A packed Hollows for Habitat Forum organized by Central Tablelands Local Land Services in partnership with the Central West Councils Environment and Waterways Alliance has highlighted the plight of native species that depend on tree hollows for habitat, and has also inspired hope that properly managed rehabilitation and restoration projects will ensure our special native birds and animals aren’t left homeless.

The Forum was held at the Orange Agricultural Institute to educate landholders, Aboriginal communities, Local Government, and Landcare groups about the significance of hollows for native fauna to shelter and raise their young, as well as best management practices for rehabilitation and restoration projects of natural habitat.

According to Mick Callan from the Environment & Waterways Alliance the keynote presentation by ‘Birdlife Australia’ editor, Sean Dooley set the tone for the day.

“Sean’s presentation was funny, engaging, and concerning, but overall full of hope for the future. Sean has a thorough understanding of the plight of native birdlife and extensive knowledge of the great work being done across the country to protect and restore natural habitat,” said Mick.

An extensive array of expert speakers discussed a host of topics including nest box construction, installation and maintenance, and plant selection for revegetation.

There was an emphasis on the importance of protecting existing hollows and mature trees across the landscape and the management of feral species including hollow invaders and predatory animals.  The detailed requirements of individual hollow dependent species such as bats, gliders and birds, were also discussed.

Other topics included local case studies from the Cowra Woodland Birds project, the Glideways program and Orange City Council looking at what can be achieved by engaging volunteers to supply and monitor nest boxes in nature reserves.

“The key themes to come out of the day included the importance of partnerships and networking for sharing knowledge and resources, the need to link habitat throughout the landscape, and the importance of long term monitoring and management,” reported Mick Callan.
“It was also made clear that improving habitat for flagship species has the potential to benefit a much wider range of fauna.”

A live chainsaw demonstration of hollow augmentation technique by local arborist Oliver Schoemark was a highlight of the event, with Oliver and his brother Henry showing how artificial hollows can be cut into standing trees to provide a more natural and durable hollow than an artificial nest box.

Reg Kidd, from the Central Tablelands Local land Services Board, described the event as a great example of the collaboration that Central Tablelands Local land Services strives to achieve.

“The partnership with the Central West Councils Environment and Waterways Alliance and the support from Orange City Council, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Landcare, and the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, created an opportunity for attendees to gain knowledge, make contacts and hopefully be inspired to work with our staff to improve the wonderful natural resources that our region has to offer,” said Reg.

Event organisers anticipate the forum will lead to a noticeable increase in the number and range of projects across the Central Tablelands region aimed at improving habitat for hollow dependent species.

A similar event will be held in Dubbo at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo on Thursday 23 June.

For more information about the forum contact Mick Callan, Project Support Officer with the Environment & Waterways Alliance on 0400968201 or mick.callan@lls.nsw.gov.au

Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439608370