Enhancing remnant woodland

Reinstating the shrub layer in woodland communities to improve biodiversity

Taking Action -

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Enhancing remnant woodland

Reinstating the shrub layer in woodland communities to improve biodiversity

The issue

Box gum grassy woodlands have been nationally listed as an endangered ecological community. This community supports more than 400 plant species, some of which are threatened. The range of these woodlands once extended across much of south-eastern Australia but now less than 5% of the original extent of box gum grassy woodlands remains in good condition, and what remains exists in small isolated patches across a highly fragmented landscape.

Small patches of remnant vegetation hold important conservation value. They provide nesting and foraging opportunities for birds and insectivorous bats, act as stepping stones that facilitate movement across the landscape, and provide refuge during extreme weather.

Many of these small patches now lack a shrub or understorey layer. Although predominately grassy, the shrub layer (of up to 30%) provides valuable habitat for fauna to shelter, feed and nest, and also helps to improve the health of the canopy layer by encouraging a range of insectivorous birds.

With woodlands under enormous ecological pressure, it is extremely important that these small patches are conserved and enhanced to maintain our biodiversity but to also preserve the productive capacity of grazing and cropping lands.

The solution

A partnership with NRMA Insurance enabled Mid Lachlan Landcare to offer local landholders a grant that would increase biodiversity by improving habitat condition within remnant patches of threatened grassy woodland communities through on ground works in the Cowra Shire Council area. We provided eight successful applicants with tube stock shrubs plus plastic guards and stakes for habitat enhancement on their properties. The remnant patches were each approximately two hectares in size and were protected from stock. The project also aimed to inform the wider community of the need for local biodiversity conservation through online media such as Mid Lachlan Landcare's website and blog.

The impact

Through this funding we have been able to plant 1200 shrubs across eight properties within the Cowra Shire Council area. This will lead to increased biodiversity and improved health across approximately 16 hectares of remnant vegetation.

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Key facts

  • Introducing the shrub layer back into box Gum Grassy Woodlands.