Habitat restoration project to bring back woodland birds

News article |

A $1 million state government project is underway to bring woodland birds back to the Mount Lofty Ranges following years of habitat loss and changes in the landscape.

Habitat restoration project to bring back woodland birds
Western beautiful firetail. Photo: Martin Stokes

The project, delivered by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Mount Lofty Ranges Bird Recovery Alliance, will see important heathland and grassy woodland vegetation restored to support the recovery of threatened bird species.

$500,000 has been allocated to heathland restoration on the Fleurieu Peninsula, while $450,000 will go towards grassy woodland restoration in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges. The remaining $50,000 will enable monitoring to better understand the population status of the threatened species.

The heathland restoration in cleared areas of Deep Creek National Park will target the endangered western beautiful firetail, however a range of other species including the southern emu-wren are likely to also benefit.

The western beautiful firetail is one of the most threatened resident birds in the region and was recently listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Surveys over the past decade have revealed that Deep Creek National Park and surrounds are the last remaining stronghold for the species.

A specific shrubby heath will be reinstated that the firetails require. The firetails are known to visit areas of the park and already make use of revegetation established in previous years.

The majority of resident bush bird species in the Mount Lofty Ranges have been in decline for many years. This decline can be linked to a combination of factors including habitat loss, changes to fire regimes, and the impacts of native and feral grazing animals on the remaining native vegetation.

The effects of climate change are also expected to exacerbate these threats.

Habitat restoration project to bring back woodland birds
Southern emu-wren. Photo: Martin Stokes

Director Conservation and Wildlife Lisien Loan said the recovery of woodland bird populations requires coordinated and collaborative action.

"The species most at risk of extinction in the region include the beautiful firetail, chestnut-rumped heathwren, diamond firetail, Bassian thrush and the southern emu-wren," Ms Loan said.

"It’s great to see the formation of the Bird Recovery Alliance, which includes government agencies working in direct partnership with the wildlife and conservation sector, universities and the community on this important issue."

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