Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Importance of Remnant Bushland
Yesterday I was involved in a habitat survey on a number of small farms about an hour's drive east of Perth. The main part of the survey was to record the number of potential habitat trees for the endangered Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, but also to record the fauna found in the survey area, especially in remnant bushland left on the farms.
Despite many of the remnant areas being damaged and degraded by years of local timber-cutting and grazing animals, such as goats, sheep and cattle, most larger woodland blocks still held surprising numbers of bird species. These remnant blocks become especially important if they are of a large size and have interconnections with each other or large bushland reserves. Many in the survey area did just that, and at the end of the day we had recorded 40 species of birds using and living in the area.
Most of the birds were those that you would expect to be found in the woodlands and forests east of Perth, such as Scarlet Robins, Red-capped Robins, Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Inland Thornbills, but a couple of gems that are generally harder to see close to Perth were also found. Family groups of noisy White-browed Babblers were in the area, as well as the beautiful and often shy Western Yellow Robins.
Hopefully as our knowledge of the importance of remnant bushland grows, many of these remaining areas on farms will be preserved and even regenerated to provide habitats for our declining fauna. I was happy to hear that most, if not all of the bushland blocks on the surveyed farms are planned to be retained.
For some more info on the importance of remnant bush and tree-planting on farms, see Cunningham et al.