Bringing Them Back

Scientific field surveys carried out in the Southern Wheatbelt have revealed red-tailed phascogales (Phascogale calura) and koomal (Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus) are alive and well in Dongolocking!

It was just one, of a few, welcome surprises which also showed kunapalari frogs (Neobatrachus kunapalari) – a species more common in arid zones – have extended their known range.

An echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) was also found in one of the revegetated corridors.

The field surveys were conducted as a part of the Bringing Them Back project – a collaborative partnership between the South West Catchments Council (SWCC), Edith Cowan University (ECU), the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI), Dumbleyung Landcare Zone, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Greening Australia.

The project aimed to assess the effectiveness of revegetation and land management actions on improving habitat restoration for the region’s unique fauna.  It focused on the Dongolocking Catchment, the site of a major revegetation to conservation project undertaken between 1996 and 2005.

The fieldwork undertaken by ECU researchers included field surveys, fauna monitoring, the use of remote cameras, invertebrate and bird surveys.

“These findings, combined with the results of our trapping sessions, camera monitoring, invertebrate and bird surveys and talking to local farmers, are giving us a clear picture of the value of well-planned and delivered revegetation to conservation in the Western Australian Wheatbelt,” Dr Shaun Molloy, from Edith Cowan University, said.

The Dongolocking revegetation has been mapped and assessed and after nearly 20 years, revegetation success is above 90 per cent.

“We are seeing conservation priority mammals making revegetation in Dongolocking their habitat, along with many bird and invertebrate species,” Dr Molloy said.

“In fact, the numbers of species using these areas far exceeds our expectations.

“This is a great example of what can happen when conservation professionals and farmers work together to create and improve corridors for habitat.”

SWCC Biodiversity Project Manager Jenelle Schult said the Bringing Them Back project was showing the importance of revegetation on farms and corridor connectivity for species conservation.

“Long term monitoring of revegetation projects is critical to the ongoing improvement of best management practices to assess the way we collectively undertake conservation and to maximise returns on investment,” she said.

“Partnerships such as the Bringing Them Back project are key to inform the planning of future conservation activities for landholders and natural resource managers.”

For more information on the Bringing Them Back project findings, Dumbleyung Landcare Zone is hosting site visits to Dongolocking, followed by a presentation of findings on Sunday, 17 June 2018 at the Dongolocking Hall.

Participants will also have an opportunity to get hands-on and discover invertebrates found in the area. To book your place contact Claudia Hadlow 0429 612 447 or dyglandcare@westnet.com.au

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