Review of existing data and undertaking field surveys to identify areas of known core and potential koala habitats to enable conservation efforts...
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations face a range of challenges including habitat loss and fragmentation, disease and climate change. Koala populations across New South Wales and most of Australia have been decreasing in numbers over recent years. This decline has led to a series of conservation efforts across the east coast of Australia, especially after the 2019/20 bushfires.
Habitat loss is one of the primary factors responsible for the declining koala populations, making it important to have an accurate understanding of where koalas live and the factors that influence their distribution.
Water Technology were engaged to identify areas of known core koala habitat and potential koala habitat across the Mid-Western Regional Local Government Area. By creating a detailed map of koala habitat and connectivity corridors, we enable conservation efforts to be directed to areas where they make the most difference and are needed the most.
Survey and analyse information to guide the development of a Conservation Management Plan for the Koala within the region
Mid-Western Local Government Area New South Wales
Mid-Western Regional Council
The first stages of the work involved:
- Collection and review of available spatial data
- Running of the predictive Koala Habitat Suitability Model (KHSM) to determine areas of low, moderate and high koala habitat suitability.
- Identification of field survey points that would have the highest predicted likelihood of koala occurrence.
- Undertake a field survey of over 60 identified locations. The hybrid rapid Scat Analysis Technique (SAT) was used to determine the presence of koalas during the field survey. In addition, in areas of high likelihood of koalas, an audio recording device was installed with the purpose of picking up koala calls.
Based on field survey results and existing data, koala habitat maps were produced to indicate areas for core koala habitat and areas for potential koala habitat. Koala connectivity was also mapped to give an indication of areas where koala movement between habitat patches or metapopulations should be considered.
This information will be used to guide conservation efforts, citizen science projects and inform land use planning to ensure the viability of the local koala populations.