Monday, November 28, 2022

Habitat boost for Northern Rivers koalas: Griffin

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Australian Rural & Regional News asked a question of the Minister, set out below the article. This article relates to the ongoing debate about koalas on ARR.News.

The Hon. James Griffin, Minister for Environment and Heritage (NSW), Media Release, 29 September 2022

Private landholders are being supported to restore 200 hectares of koala habitat in the Northern Rivers through a new initiative that is planting 250,000 tree seedlings, backed by the NSW Koala Strategy.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the landmark program is restoring koala habitat on private land, increasing biodiversity and providing an additional revenue stream for landholders through carbon farming.

“We know that more than 50 per cent of koala habitat is on private land in NSW, which is why private landholders are a big part of the solution when it comes to conserving and protecting koalas,” Mr Griffin said.

“Through the Koala Friendly Carbon Farming Project, we’re helping landholders plant hundreds of thousands of koala food and shelter trees to restore koala habitat and create corridors for them to move safely through areas.

“Landholders will be able to diversify their income through carbon farming, while creating new habitat for koalas and other native species on their properties.

“This is part of our NSW Koala Strategy, which delivers the biggest commitment by any government to a single species in Australia, and it will help us reach our target of doubling the number of koalas in NSW by 2050.”

The NSW Government is working in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, and Climate Friendly to deliver the project.

The project is working to kick-start carbon farming in koala habitats by developing carbon farming projects that deliver Australian Carbon Credit Units.

WWF-Australia Landscape Restoration Project Manager Tanya Pritchard said the project is addressing some of the major threats facing koalas.

“We can’t turn around the decline of east coast koalas without bold actions to tackle habitat loss and fragmentation,” Ms Pritchard said.

“This project provides incentives for landowners to be part of the solution and will help us to restore and connect large areas of koala habitat.”

Climate Friendly Co-CEO Skye Glenday said the initiative demonstrates how rural land managers can sustainably manage their environment while benefiting native species.

“Our partnership with landowners, WWF-Australia and the NSW Government will replenish important feeding and safe living areas for koalas and potentially attract other wildlife such as greater gliders, while building biodiversity and flood impact mitigation,” Ms Glenday said.

“The new trees will also provide benefits in capturing carbon to help Australia meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.”

The NSW Koala Strategy is backed by more than $190 million and delivers a range of targeted conservation actions to secure more habitat, support community conservation, address threats to koala safety and health, and utilise science and research to build our knowledge.

Landholders can apply for a property assessment to determine if there are koalas close by and if their land is suitable.

For more information, visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/koala.

Question

Australian Rural & Regional News asked a question of Minister Griffin, whose response will be published here once received.

The NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program (May 2022) found that (at vi):  “An analysis of recent trends in Koala occupancy in hinterland forests of north-eastern NSW, where surveys targeted their habitat and were based on recordings of Koala calls, provided greater precision and higher estimates of occupancy (averaging 68% ± 7%). This recent trend shows a stable meta-population over the last 5 years, including after fires burnt 30% of Koala habitat in 2019.” (italics added)

Why is the Minister apparently ignoring evidence that koala populations in north east NSW are not in decline?

This article relates to the ongoing debate about koalas on Australian Rural & Regional News.

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