Latest media release: Species returning to restored bush in south-west WA biodiversity hotspot

about  Peniup Reserve  
on 31 Jan 2014 

Bush Heritage Australia’s habitat restoration work in WA’s Gondwana Link bush corridor scheme is bringing back priority species to areas of the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River region, according to the latest fauna and flora survey.

“Our survey recorded two carpet pythons in remnant bushland that are on the WA threatened species list – one at our Monjebup North Reserve where we have replanted 250 hectares of formerly cleared paddocks to replicate the natural habitat, and another at Beringa Reserve, which we jointly own with Greening Australia WA,” said Bush Heritage ecologist Angela Sanders.

The survey also recorded in Beringa Reserve’s yate woodland the first sighting in the area of a priority-listed bird in WA, the crested shrike-tit.

“This is a significant finding because this bird is usually only found further south in Karri forest or east in the Great Western Woodland,” said Ms Sanders. In the middle of revegetated habitat on Monjebup North, revegetated just 2 years ago honey possums were also recorded.

‘These tiny creatures are very picky about their food and only live in habitat healthy enough to produce the nectar and pollen they need to survive, so they’re an excellent indicator of bushland health,’ said Ms Sanders

“Monitoring revegetation as young as the 2012 project is ground-breaking because we’ll be able to improve the habitat as we go which will yield better habitat for wildlife. The honey possum for example, needs nectar and pollen all year to sustain a permanent population so we have chosen plants to ensure that we have something suitable flowering each month.”

As well as providing significant new wildlife habitat, the restoration work is assisting the conservation of rare flora by including some unusual species in the seed mix. Corackerup moort, a rare red-flowered variant of the more abundant yellow-flowered moort that is a signature species in the area, is thriving in the restoration area.

“It is exciting to see evidence that our program to complete 1500 hectares of revegetation across five properties we own, jointly own or jointly manage to fill critical habitat gaps in southwest WA’s Gondwana Link bush corridor scheme is working to increase protection of habitat and refuge for wildlife,” said Ms Sanders.

This year, the final stage in the restoration project on Monjebup North will commence – completing the final 150 hectares. On the Monjebup restoration project alone, Bush Heritage has now direct-seeded over 100 kilograms of seed and planted approximately 25,000 seedlings, representing more than 120 native plant and tree species.

“Our long-term aim is to repair years of environmental damage and replicate natural systems to be of maximum value to wildlife,” said Ms Sanders.

The Gondwana Link properties are located approximately 430km from Perth between the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River national parks in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region – a globally-recognised biodiversity hotspot.

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