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Improving Habitat Corridors and Improving Linear Corridors

What are habitat corridors, why habitat corridors and where do linear corridors fit in?

Creating habitat corridors in urban and peri-urban areas

Improving Linear Corridors in rural areas

Getting started

Videos - of farm improvements which benefit small birds, habitat and farm production

Improving farm biodiversity - more information

What are habitat corridors, why habitat corridors and where do linear corridors fit in?

Habitat corridors or wildlife corridors provide protection and safe havens for native wildlife including birds and lizards and are generally linear corridors which include native vegetation (trees, shrubs and ground covers). They may be extensive bushland areas, bushland areas connected by native vegetation in various forms, shelter belts, wind breaks, watercourses, road verges, paddock trees, landscape plantings and/or any long narrow strip of vegetation.

Bushland areas are important for habitat corridors and may be connected by small or larger pockets of preferably native vegetation which may be described as habitat havens, habitat stepping stones, paddock trees, rocky outcrops containing native vegetation or gardens. In an ideal world, linear corridors would inter-connect to become a habitat network.

Habitat corridors can be found or connected in rural, peri-urban and urban areas.

In urban, peri-urban and rural areas these corridors are important for the survival of our small native birds, pollinators and ultimately for the health of the bushland remnants and surrounding environment. In all areas these remnants can become isolated and consequently restricted in flora and fauna diversity and genetic makeup. Small birds in particular need protection to move around and find new family groups in order to mate. Small birds in some cases can only travel up to about 50 metres in the open and even then are at risk of being attacked and killed especially by bigger birds.

Small native birds such as wrens, robins, finches, silvereyes, thornbills and Jacky winters are under threat due to loss of habitat. They require mid-storey and under-storey native plants for food, protection, nest sites and within corridors so as to travel safely between larger areas of native vegetation. Improving habitat values in linear corridors in both rural and urban areas will help our tiny native birds move around safely and improve the health of their populations.

There is strong science now that demonstrates shelter belts and wind breaks not only support wildlife but also protect stock in adverse weather, improve stock survival rates and health of stock over their life (ie they put on more weight and are less stressed with better shelter) and improve productivity and drought preparedness on farms generally. Small native birds and other wildlife help control problem insects on farm, and improved biodiversity is known to improve farm productivity.

On farms it is accepted that birds do damage however productivity improvements through birds eating insects outways any damage by at least 10 percent. See ABC News article (Feb 2018) - Native birds bring more benefits than damage to crops, orchards and grazing land, research finds.

Recommended reading: What Makes A Good Farm for Wildlife. David B. Lindenmayer - Lead Author - CSIRO Publishing.

Also read Sustainable Farms and ANU - Ten Ways to Improve the Natural Assets on a Farm.


Creating habitat corridors in urban and peri-urban areas

Find out about creating small bird habitat corridors and connections in urban and peri-urban areas see - Hunter's Hill small bird habitat corridor (1.8MB)
and Shrimpton's Creek small bird habitat corridor project (788 kb).


Improving Linear Corridors in rural areas

Actions to improve linear corridors:

        - Increase width of linear corridor by planting local native trees to extend width to at least 20 metres wide but preferably 50 metres wide or more.

        - Exclude stock permanently to allow natural regeneration and regrowth of native trees and vegetation. If you can't exclude stock permanently then permit only low intensity short term grazing so as to allow new plants to establish. Trees of different ages benefit a variety of birds.

        - Within linear corridors plant 'habitat havens' also called 'habitat islands' - these are a densely planted diverse mix of native shrubs, vines, ground covers and grasses including spiky plants such as Hakea and Bursaria. Print a copy of the poster on Improving Linear Corridors -
A3 version for printer (aprox 7 MB) or
A3 version for print at home (aprox 7 MB) or
A4 version for printer (aprox 7 MB) or
A4 version for print at home (aprox 7 MB).
Also see Getting Started section below.

        - Plant 'habitat havens' as close together as possible and no more than 50 metres apart.

        - Through additional tree and 'habitat haven' planting using local native plants, connect linear corridors to other linear corridors, such as, road verges, travelling stock routes and watercourses, and also connect to areas of remnant native plants, regrowth native plants and paddock trees. For clarity create a map of your property showing your planned habitat network.

        - Allow fallen trees and branches to remain as habitat for lizards and to improve food opportunities for small birds, resist the urge to tidy up and mow.

        - Manage weeds. If a weed patch is home to small birds keep it until native habitat has grown and is in use by the small birds before removing. In some cases it may be preferable to keep the weedy habitat so as to expand breeding opportunities for the small birds.

        - Restrict spraying of fertiliser and pesticides near linear corridors.

        - Record birds using existing corridors, record dates and quantities of plants planted, and monitor any change of birds using the improved corridors.


Getting started

Print a copy of the poster on Improving Linear Corridors -
A3 version for printer (aprox 7 MB) or
A3 version for print at home (aprox 7 MB) or
A4 version for printer (aprox 7 MB) or
A4 version for print at home (aprox 7 MB).

Also see

Planting a habitat haven poster A4 size - with plant guide cross section (590 kb). and
Planting a habitat haven poster A3 size - with plant guide cross section (676 kb).

How to plant a small bird habitat haven in your garden - A4.

Create a simple map of your property or corridor - aerial photos or maps may be obtained from your local council. Local Land Services may also be able to help. Mark on your map locations of bushland remnants, rocky outcrops, shelter belts, creeklines, paddock trees, etc.

Mark on your map connected corridors, potential connected corridors and locations needing habitat improvement, ie where habitat havens are to be planted and connectors planted. Using different colours is useful. Habitat havens should be no more than 50 metres from a bushland remnant or another habitat area. Each habitat haven should include about 100 plants. Calculate number of plants needed. Estimate length of any fencing required.

Contact your local Landcare group for information relating to plant supply, grant opportunities and joining Landcare or starting a Landcare group with your friends and neighbours. To find your local Landcare groups go to https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/

You can also talk to your regional Landcare representative about how Landcare may be able to help.

To find out about other grant opportunities and local assistance talk to your Local Land Services.

We would like to hear about your plans and achievements you can email us on info@iewf.org


Videos - of farm improvements which benefit small birds, habitat and farm production

Planting the Seed is a series of videos published by Scott Runacres showcasing farmers across Australia who have seen tremendous benefetis through implemeting on-farm practices that harbour biodiversity.


Planting the Seed: Bryan Ward.

Planting the Seed: Lindsay Murray.

Planting the Seed: Bruce Maynard.

Planting the Seed: Peter and Wilma Mackay.

Planting the Seed: Australian Farmers Stories of Biodiversity (Trailer).


Improving farm biodiversity - more information

Benefits of Trees - the Platypus Project in Victoria.

Cute native sugar gliders offer pest control solution for southern NSW farmers. (ABC News 2016)

Leading by Example to Create Legacy during Drought - Louise Turner and her husband Zane run Goodwood Station near White Cliffs.

Lessons Learnt on How to Plan for Dry Times - David Marsh at his Boorowa property 'Allendale' in August 2018.

Save Our Scarlet Robin Project being run by South East Local Land Service.

Mid Lachlan Landcare has some great projects enhancing remnant woodland and improving farm health please see:

    Case studies.

    Enhancing Remnant Woodland.

    Whole of Paddock Rehabilitaion - Greening Australia. Whole of Paddock Rehabilitationis an incentive-based program that assists farmers to restore degraded or cleared land on their properties, increasing productivity, providing shade and shelter for cattle, and creating large areas of new habitat for native wildlife.


Fairy wren nest in Hakea sericea     Superb fairywren     Eastern yellow robin

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