|Cahill Creek - before work in Sept 2001||Cahill Creek - after wildlife corridor planted - Sept 2004|
Wildlife Corridors - What are they and why are they important?
Wildlife corridors are remnant habitat, regenerated habitat or artificially created habitat that links larger areas of wildlife habitat. Corridors provide a means by which animals and plant seeds can move between larger areas of habitat that are their refuges, within an otherwise uninhabitable environment.
Wildlife corridors play a crucial role in maintaining connections between animal and plant populations that would otherwise be isolated and at greater risk of local extinction. Corridors also provide supplementary feeding habitat for animals.
Benefits for wildlife include:
- decreased likelihood of local species exctinction and in-breeding
- maintenance of species richness and diversity
- lower incidence of disease
The quality of the corridors as fauna habitat is a critical factor in their effectiveness. A wide corridor of bushland in good condition, with the full diversity and strata of native vegetation, is obviously the best option, and it is important to retain and protect such links where they still exisit.
However, even corridors retained in backyards and on road reserves can play a vital role in maintaining connections between fauna populations. The frequency of the corridor may be very low, but the movement of just one or two animals between populations can be critical.
Wildlife Corridors in Pittwater
In Pittwater, wildlife corridors include bushland linking large reserves. This bushland occurs on both
- private property ('backyard bushland')
- road reserves (nature strips)
- along creeks and sand-dunes.
Council has mapped key corridors throughout Pittwater.
The corridors may be remnant bushland or replanted such as has occurred along Careel Creek in Avalon, Cahill Creek in Mona Vale, and creeks within the Warriewood Valley.
Major parts of the Pittwater area act a corridor for species inhabiting larger habitat areas to the north and south. For example, migratory birds such as kingfishers, honeyeaters and cuckoos are likely to use the peninsula as a stop-off while travelling between Boudii and Garigal National Parks. On a smaller scale 'backyard bushland' in Avalon and Clareville acts as a corridor between Stapleton and Angohora Reserves.
The retention of backyard bushland plays an essential role in conserving native wildlife, not only at the backyard level, but also as part of wildlife corridors which run through suburbia creating links between larger bushland reserves.
See the locations of Pittwater's green wildlife corridors on the wildlife corridors location map.
|Volunteers plant a wildlife corridor at Toongarie Reserve Avalon||Growth after 18 months|
What animals in Pittwater rely on Wildlife Corridors?
Within Pittwater many species utilise and depend on wildlife corridors, particularly small birds. Mammals also rely on the protection that vegetation offers (whether tree canopy or understorey) and large predatory birds need them because it is where their prey lives.
|Small Birds||Mammals||Large Birds|
Threats to wildlife corridors
Wildlife corridors and habitat continue to be impacted by residential development which is considered one of the major treats to Pittwater's wildlife management and conservation. Other pressures include:
- unsympathetic landscaping and street tree planting of species not indigenous to the area
- predation by domestic pets and feral animals
- weed invasion
- barriers to movement including fences, major roads and loss of continuous habitat such as canopy and understorey vegetation
- death or injury caused by vehicles
|Wildlife corridor at Palmgrove Park, Avalon||Wildlife corridor at Winnererremy Bay, Mona Vale|
Wildlife passage through fencing
Before building a fence, ask yourself "Is a fence necessary?" If a fence must be built, then several factors should be considered: the species present in the area, their abundance and the occurrence of daily and/or seasonal animal movement. The location of the fence may also be critical to the well-being of animals present. Providing appropriate fencing aids the passage of native ground-dwellers including bandicoots, antichinus, blue-tongue lizards and water dragons. To ensure safe passage of these incredible animals, Pittwater Council has a condition that any new fencing (with the exception of swimming pool fencing) is to be made passable to native wildlife. Hole dimensions are to be a minimum of 150mm wide x 100mm high at ground level spaced at 6 metre intervals.
Did You Know?
The loss of hollow bearing trees has now been declared a proposed key threatening process by the NSW Scientific Committee. This means that the loss of hollow bearing trees is recognised to have a direct link with the loss of certain native wildlife species. Find out more ...
What can you do?
- Protect native bushland on your property. Even if your bushland exists as an isolated island, it can be a vital stepping stone for more mobile species. Find out more about Remnant Bushland on Private Property
- Recreate habitat on your property by planting local native plant species - also see Creating a Habitat for Wildlife and Birdscaping your Garden
- Retain bushland on road reserves (nature strips). Sadly, in some areas these are the last remaining examples of local bushland. These corridors are increasingly being lost to formal landscaping with very little or no habitat value.
- Retain safe, dead canopy trees as hollow nesting sites. Again these vital habitat features are becoming increasingly rare in urban areas. Nest boxes can also provide a vital habitat. Find out more about hollow bearing trees and nest boxes ...
- Retain groundcovers, fallen logs and leaf litter as cover and habitat for ground dwelling animals.
- Get involved with your local Bushcare Group or get into Backyard Bushcare.
- Attend a course on how to create habitat for native animals in your garden - check the Events page for upcoming courses
- Report injured animals to official wildlife carers such as Sydney Native Wildlife Service or WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue Emergency Service), or take the animal to a local vet who should treat the animal for no cost.
Updated: 14 Jan 2013