Up to 80% of wild koalas live on private land throughout Australia.
Koalas don’t need just any old trees. They need fertile, waterfront habitat – trees with high moisture content, and cool breezes to keep them alive through hot summers. Climate change is drying them out and overheating them.
The riverside land koalas need is mostly on farms. Where farms have intact native vegetation along their drainage lines, koalas can live. But many farms around the You Yangs don’t have that.
Around Little River/the You Yangs and the Brisbane Ranges the hills are dry. In the past, there was enough rain to support koala populations in these hills. But now, koalas are disappearing from these places.
Koalas need to move downstream/downhill – out of the dry hills and into the valleys where the farms are. Right now, the streamside habitat they need doesn’t exist.
Farmers have demonstrated that they can be champions of koalas. The most famous is Jack (John) Lemon, Gunnedah farmer, who turned his region into “The Koala Capital of NSW” by planting koala trees on his farm. The movement grew, and in less than 10 years the koala population had increased.
There is widespread understanding of the value of native vegetation to farms. Many farmers want trees on parts of their land, and will go to great personal effort to plant trees. Landcare Australia has a huge membership, primarily farmers, and plants millions of trees. Most of the large native plantings around the You Yangs have been organised by farmers through Landcare.
Koalas can’t rely on national parks anymore. Koalas need farms, and farmers.
With this knowledge, and 20 years of research, the Koala Clancy Foundation developed a plan to help koalas and farmers.
We organise targeted koala tree planting along waterways on farms. We plant locally-indigenous native trees and ecosystem species in the right location, so success rate is very high. Our planters are mature, experienced volunteers who pay a small fee to participate, which ensures their dedication. Many are members of Koala Clancy Foundation and their motivation is helping koalas.
Our groups are small – 15 to 25 volunteers, plus two staff leaders – and we plant around 300 trees per group per planting day. That’s not a lot, but it makes the day manageable for all involved, and we have a high volunteer return rate.
On 15 November 2018, and on 28 November 2019 Koala Clancy Foundation hosted a public meeting to talk about wild koalas on farms and private land.
The meetings are targeted towards:
- Local landowners willing to revegetate some of their streamsides and/or drainage lines.
- Conservation groups planning projects to help koalas.
- Local community interested in learning about wild koalas.
The presentation is now available online here: https://www.echidnawalkabout.com.au/koala-tree-planting-victoria/
Our Koala Tree Planting Information Events will be run annually in November. Watch our website for details.
Contact: Community Engagement Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org