Reversing the decline of woodland birds

News article |

They are elusive, shy, and incredibly vulnerable. They are also an important indicator of the health of our landscapes and their populations have been in decline for over two decades.

They are a suite of over 80 declining woodland birds across the Mount Lofty Ranges, and action is now being taken to reverse their decline.

Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu has been successful in attaining $820,000, through the state government’s Landscape Priorities Fund, to support an alliance of environmental organisations, university and government partners to tackle the challenge with on-ground action and community engagement.

The Landscape Priorities Fund provides annual grants for the state’s landscape boards, working with partners to deliver large-scale, integrated ecological projects.

Dr Wendy Telfer, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu’s Manager Planning and Engagement, explained more.

“There are 83 bird species declining across the Mount Lofty Ranges, and we need urgent, landscape-scale restoration of habitats to reverse the declines. These birds are threatened species and at risk of extinction – once they’re gone, they’re gone.

“On behalf of Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu and our Alliance partners, we are excited to receive this funding and start the work.”

The Alliance will deliver four key sub-projects over the next two years including:

  • the revegetation of low-rainfall grassy woodland in priority areas of the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges,
  • the development of a regional action plan,
  • a series of landholder surveys and interviews to understand barriers to restoration, and
  • communications and partnership activities to motivate and provide pathways for community action.

“Some of the threatened birds that the habitat restoration will support are the diamond firetail, hooded robin, restless flycatcher, jacky winter, southern whiteface, chestnut-rumped thornbill and brown treecreeper. Restoration work will be focussed in the areas where these species are still persisting, with the existing habitat being expanded to support the populations to increase.

“We are also aiming to create a strong groundswell of community interest and involvement in the revegetation work, most of which will be undertaken on private properties with the support of enthusiastic landholders.

“The regional action plan that is being developed will act as a blueprint to have an agreed set of priority actions and will use science and local knowledge so that we restore habitat in the right places, at the right scale and with the right plant species. It will also guide us from an engagement perspective to ensure the community has ample opportunity be involved.

“The Mount Lofty Ranges Bird Recovery Alliance consists of a diversity of organisations and individuals who are brilliant at what they do and are experts in their fields. Working together with the community, we are confident that we can make a real difference and create a sustainable future for these threatened birds,” said Dr Telfer.

Alliance partners include Nature Conservation Society of SA, Trees for Life, Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association, Greening Australia, Conservations Volunteers Australia, Bio-R, BirdsSA, Birdlife Australia, University of Adelaide, Department for Environment and Water, Green Adelaide, and Northern and Yorke, Murraylands and Riverland, and Hills and Fleurieu landscape boards.

Reversing the decline of woodland birds
The diamond firetail is one of several woodland bird species declining across the Mount Lofty Ranges. Photo: Daniel Easton

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