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Rebuilding a home for the iconic koalas

Rebuilding a home for the iconic koalas

Did you know koalas are listed as vulnerable in NSW, Queensland and ACT?

While you can’t miss seeing a koala on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, you’d have to be pretty lucky to spot one when exploring south-east Queensland.

Recent figures from the South East Queensland Koala Population Modelling Study1 review found that in parts of south-east Queensland more than 80 per cent of the koala population had disappeared since 1996. The report's lead author, University of Queensland Associate Professor Jonathan Rhodes, said habitat loss, disease and dog attacks continued to threaten the population in and around built-up areas.

Protecting koalas from extinction is critical; and restoring habitat is one of the key solutions to ensure the livelihood of koala populations in the region.

This year, we’re thrilled to partner with Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN), a Conservation group, to help the koalas in south-east Queensland and grow a forest for them!

From grazing paddocks to koala habitat

QTFN is a non-profit organisation focused on the protection of Queensland’s biodiversity. In 2014-15, they purchased a number of adjoining properties at the foot of Flinders Peak, just one hour south of Brisbane. Together they form Koala Crossing - a vast property boasting 652 ha of open eucalypt woodland and rocky escarpments - prime koala habitat. But there is one piece of the puzzle missing: 90 ha of cleared pasture – an after-effect from the cattle grazing enterprises traditionally run in the Peak Crossing area.

That’s where we come in: Greenfleet is planting 80,000 native trees this year to extend habitat for koala and bring the Australian bush back to this bare patch.

Tanya Pritchard, Conservation Officer at QTFN said "We think there's probably 10 to 20 koalas here, but we hope as we restore the property and plant more trees here that we'll be able to increase the population over time.

Tree planting has started in May although a drier than usual dry season is a challenge and we’re progressing cautiously to ensure the best success for the future forest.

Greenfleet is planting a mix of 31 locally native species, representing the four different ecosystems occurring on the planting site; one of which is ‘endangered’ and one of which is ‘of concern’ in regards to their biodiversity status. As part of this native species mix is the Queensland Blue Gum, Eucalyptus terticornis, one of the canopy species we’re planting to provide preferred food source for the koalas, but also insects and birds. Queensland Blue Gums can grow up to 50 metres with a trunk diameter of up to 2 metres.

Koala Crossing forms part of the Flinders Karawatha Corridor, the largest remaining contiguous stretch of open eucalypt forest in south-east Queensland. The extent of clearing in south-east Queensland means Koala Crossing provides an opportunity to restore and protect an extensive area of woodland and forest ecosystem that were once dominant in the region.

Our partnership with QTFN is a first at Greenfleet and we’re excited to join forces to help protect the koalas,” says Michael Coleman, Greenfleet’s GM Reforestation.

By focusing solely on biodiverse, native reforestation, Greenfleet’s revegetation projects deliver many environmental benefits. From removing carbon from the atmosphere to providing habitat to native wildlife and preserving biodiversity, the forests we plant on behalf of our supporters play an outstanding role for the environment.

Photos of Greenfleet's tree planting at Koala Crossing, Qld

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