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Enhancing Our Healthy Habitats

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Healthy Environments

At the heart of natural resource management is the aim to protect and improve our environmental assets. To achieve this, it is important to determine the current state of our assets and quantify the threats that affect their long-term survival.

The report recently prepared by Australian Conservation Foundation has highlighted how approved clearing permits affect the threatened species assets of Australia, through habitat loss.

The data presented for our region indicates that over the last 10 years, clearing permits have been approved for the following EPBC listed species:

 

Threatened species impacted

Conservation status (at time of decision)

Hectares of habitat approved to be cleared in the Wheatbelt

Hectares of habitat approved to be cleared across Western Australia

Carnaby's Black-cockatoo

Endangered

67

3,828 +

Baudin's Black-cockatoo

Endangered

Not stated

1,372 +

Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Vulnerable

36.4

1,898 +

Chuditch, Western Quoll

Vulnerable

Not stated

152 +

Red-tailed Phascogale

Vulnerable

7.36

7.36

 

Looking At The Bigger Picture

On the face of it, the hectares identified for clearing within the Wheatbelt may not appear to be huge. However, considering that the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos live in the Wheatbelt but also rely on habitat in other regions, at different times of the year, the habitat loss in other regions has a significant impact on these birds. Bearing in mind all habitat loss is of concern for the long term survival of threatened species.

To compensate for the loss of habitat in one area, development programs are required to protect similar habitats in another areas - or create new habitats through revegetation. While there is great value in revegetation, or protecting other remnants, these offsets still result in a net loss of habitat. These activities need to be combined with other actions that increase habitat availability.

Trees Are The Key

With the exception of the Chuditch, the species listed above rely on mature trees that have formed hollows for nesting – and it can take 150 years for a tree to form hollows large enough for the black-cockatoos to nest in. Revegetating an area now won’t result in an immediate replacement of nesting habitat.

While Chuditch can take shelter in caves or earth burrows, fallen hollow logs also provide important den sites for these native marsupials. Again, the loss of mature habitats can be devastating. Chuditch and Phascogales rely on these habitats to provide the resources required by the invertebrates, birds, lizards and mammals they find so delicious.

So, What Can We Do?

While the broader community may not have the capacity to play a role in the development and offset programs, there are actions everyone can take to help provide additional resources for our threatened species, including:

  • Revegetation
  • Of bare land to increase the area of habitat and connect fragmented landscapes
  • Within degraded existing remnants to improve the quality of protected bushland areas
  • In your garden – prioritizing food plants for Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos (and nesting trees if you have the space!)
  • Using a diverse mix of plants will help to provide food in the short term – in the form of seeds, fruits, flowers or habitat for the invertebrates and animals that Chuditch and Phascogales love to prey on – and nesting habitat for generations to come
  • Fencing remnants and revegetation areas from livestock to keep them healthy, biodiverse and weed-free
  • Controlling pest plants and animals
  • Enhancing habitats with water points, nest boxes, preserving hollows and fallen logs

We may be able to support your efforts to provide habitat for our regions threatened species through the following projects:

Community Feral control Grants

Where the Wild Things Are

Protecting Black Cockatoos

Malleefowl – Pick of the Litter

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

 

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