Queensland’s iconic koalas will soon have an expanded sanctuary to call home in south east QLD’s largest eucalypt forest remnant, the Karawatha-Flinders corridor. Ecosure teams have planted more than 114,000 koala food and shelter trees on a property in south Ripley which firmly extends this important wildlife corridor.
“This partnership we’ve formed with state government and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) will greatly improve the integrity of the corridor through the expansion of native vegetation and the control of weeds across 205 hectares,” said Jen Ford, Principal Restoration Ecologist.
“Twenty months into this project has seen the collection and propagation of local seed, the establishment of tracks to assist ongoing maintenance, the construction of 16 km of fauna friendly fencing, large scale weed control and the planting of more than 114,000 trees.”
“It’s a huge job, but a job we are very committed to assisting the health of native vegetation to support this threatened species.”
The state government funded initiative is the largest koala conservation project ever undertaken in QLD and one that Ecosure knew from the outset it had the expertise to implement.
“The work required to properly restore the degraded land was far from straight forward. Just planting koala food trees wasn’t the answer,” Ms Ford said.
“The project required careful planning including the installation of two wildlife corridors so existing and migratory fauna could still reach the large Bundamba lagoon while the planted trees established and are fenced off from many browsing kangaroos.”
“It is about restoring this site to its full potential to give the koalas and the vegetation that supports them every possible chance,” Ms Ford said.
Ecosure CEO Matt Smyth said Jen Ford’s extensive experience in ecological restoration and restoring habitat was fundamental to Ecosure’s initial proposal.
“The project required an extreme level of detail including a thorough understanding of all plant species occurring on the site. A lot of thought, skill and research when into the initial plan and now Ecosure teams are out there doing what they do best.”
“The solution that Jen and her team came up with for the degraded land was one the state government couldn’t go past,” Mr Smyth said.
In a great show of community commitment to achieve genuine environmental outcomes, the landowner will retain the land title but the nature refuge agreement provides for the land to remain a refuge in perpetuity.
“The land actually belongs to the Sporting Shooters Association. They really need to be congratulated for their willingness to be involved in koala conservation,” Mr Smyth said.
The sanctuary is located on the 969 ha Stewartdale Nature Refuge at Ripley.