Australia’s temperate woodlands are among the most heavily modified ecosystems in the world. This has resulted in an array of major environmental problems such as secondary salinity, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. Substantial restoration and vegetation management programs have been developed throughout Australia’s temperate woodlands in an attempt to address these problems. A major partnership has been developing between the Murray CMA and researchers at The Australian National University since 2007. The partnership aims to improve delivery of restoration and vegetation management programs in temperate woodland ecosystems within the Murray CMA and support other organisations, like Landcare, to deliver more targeted programs.
The work within the Murray catchment has led to some important discoveries. These include:
- Block-shaped plantings are important habitats for many species of woodland birds and some reptile taxa, including an array of species of conservation concern. In addition, plantings along watercourses, plantings that intersect with other plantings, and plantings established around paddock trees have the highest species richness for native birds and reptiles.
- Management interventions such as fencing, grazing control and weed control lead to significant positive changes in native vegetation such as improved native ground cover and increased eucalypt regeneration. These changes lead to significant increases in woodland birds, particularly small-bodied species (including several of conservation concern).
- Rocky outcrops are key micro-hotspots of reptile diversity. Grazing management around these outcrops has benefits for a suite of skinks and geckos.
- There has been a 3.5% increase in native vegetation cover across 23 landscapes in bioregions such as the South West Slopes of NSW. This is the result of an increasing amount of planting and natural regrowth.