West Wyalong, New South Wales (Wiradjuri Country)
Located in the heart of the New South Wales’ Riverina, this four and a half thousand acre landscape is addressing the decline of the suite of birds dependent on intact woodland ecosystems for foraging and nesting. These once common woodland birds, such as the Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus cyanopterus, are now found almost exclusively in small, scattered remnants of habitat on private land, within State Forests or Nature Reserves.
Typical of many such farms within the region, the property was historically utilized for cropping and sheep grazing. The restoration of previously cleared land commenced in 2013 with the direct seeding of almost 850ha with local tree and shrub species.
Although Dusky Woodswallow and other threatened species also utilize whatever little habitat remains on private or public land, such remnants are unprotected and subject to further clearing and degradation. Consequently, conservation management strategies designed to halt the decline of woodland birds towards extinction include actions such as conserving remnant habitat on private land (preferably through in-perpetuity covenants), restoring degraded sites, preserving or establishing connectivity across the landscape, and expanding habitat through revegetation activities.
Widely distributed across southern and south-eastern Australia, the Dusky Woodswallow is sparsely scattered across preferred habitat of western NSW and listed as vulnerable. Large patches of woodland are important for this bird’s survival.
A gregarious species with up to 15 birds in a family group, the Grey-crowned Babbler inhabits open woodlands. Threatened by habitat fragmentation, loss of coarse woody debris, and lack of structural diversity in its habitat.
Worm-like and not to be mistaken for a snake, this Pink-tailed Legless Lizard grows to 25cm long. It may share its burrow with ants, feeding on ant eggs. Its broad tongue is used to wipe the dust from its eyes.
In the heart of the Victorian Riverina, one of the most productive areas of agriculture in Australia and only 250 kilometres north of Melbourne, lies Budgerum, a farming district of flat, grassy plains alongside the Avoca River. Grassland communities are some of the most highly threatened ecosystems on the planet, with grassland reserves being reduced to small, fragmented patches across the landscape as land has been converted to agriculture. For this reason, protection of the remaining native grasslands across the Victorian Riverina is critical to the long-term survival of species that call this community their home. Examples of species dependent on these grassy ecosystems include the critically endangered Plains Wanderer and the nationally endangered Turnip Copperburr.
Located in Meningie in South Australia, this 200 hectare landscape is a project delivered in partnership with the Ngarrindjeri people, the Traditional Custodians of the Coorong. It sees native plants supplied by the local nursery at Raukkan, a self-governed Aboriginal community 30 km northwest of the site and many Raukkan community members employed for onsite work and delivering activities such as vegetation monitoring and mapping and fencing with a focus on ensuring these communities can continue to preserve and protect this culturally important pocket of land.