The results of a baseline biodiversity survey highlights the potential to create a major wildlife corridor by planting a new habitat to reconnect remnant bush and nature reserves with multi-species carbon reforestation projects.
We are excited to bring you ‘Biodiversity Works – The Hill View Story”
The summary report of the results from our first biodiversity monitoring survey at Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor. This is one of the first times this type of research has been conducted on an Australian Reforestation project. Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund has always monitored and reported on the health of our projects during the first five years of their establishment, but this is the first time we have had a conclusive baseline from which to track the effects of our plantings on the local ecology and biodiversity.
Time and cost restrictions make this type of systematic biodiversity monitoring uncommon in reforestation projects. But with the assistance of a grant from the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Fund we were able to contract a study that monitored bird, insect and plant biodiversity at the Hill View site which is part of the larger Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor during spring 2014 and autumn 2015
The study was conducted by 3 specialist ecologists;
AviFlora and Fauna Survey - inSight Ecology, Jennifer Borger and Tanith McCaw
Macroinvertebrate and Herpetofauna Surveys – Spinless Wonders
Over the two surveys 1,040 birds were recorded, from 50 native species. These included 13 bird species of conservation significance, one of which is listed as near-threatened in WA – the Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis). A core group of insect-eating woodland and shrubland birds were detected only in remnants and were the most abundant birds recorded in the study. They included Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Zebra Finch, Southern Whiteface, White-browed Babbler, Red-capped Robin, Splendid Fairy-wren and Rufous Whistler.
The number, species diversity, behavior and activity of all animals, plants and insects recorded in the monitoring project tell a positive story of a healthy and increasingly biodiverse environment.
A total of 147 plant species were recorded including 97 perennial and 50 annual species. There were 3 plant species listed as threatened and/or rare in WA – Eucalyptus synandra, Melaleuca barlowii and Persoonia pentasticha. A fourth rare species – Baeckea sp. Billeranga Hills was recorded during an earlier recent survey on Hill View. A further 11 conservation significant plant species including Gyrostemon reticulatus (threatened) could occur on or near the property. One threatened ecological community – Plant Assemblages of the Moonagin System – occurred in remnants on ridges at Hill View. Plant species diversity (particularly annuals) was affected by the unseasonably dry winter and spring in 2014 with a notable absence of orchids, generally known to be found in this area.
There were 256 species of insects recorded in the monitoring project – a large number for the relatively small areas surveyed. The vast majority of those species were flower-visiting insects that provide an important role in pollination.
Several other animals not formally included in the monitoring project, were observed by the ecologists. These included the conservation significant Perentie (Varanus giganteus), Western Red Kangaroo, Euro, Echidna and three introduced species – fox, feral cat and rabbit. Three other reptile species – the threatened Western Spiny-tailed Skink and Gilled Slender Blue-tongue (vulnerable in WA) and the common Yellow-spotted Monitor were not recorded but are likely to occur at Hill View. Additional targeted monitoring is needed to determine the presence of these and smaller reptiles such as skinks on the property.