Regent Honeyeater Habitat Restoration Project Lurg Hills, Victoria

Authors

  • Ray Thomas


  • A major, landscape-scale restoration effort is being made by landholders and community volunteers to restore habitat of the Regent Honeyeater and a range of other threatened animals. After 14 planting seasons, there are already clear signs that a number of declining animals are returning to the Lurg Hills, although it will take longer for the Regent Honeyeater to return.

Ray Thomas is a Coordinator of the Regent Honeyeater Project Inc (PO Box 124, Benalla, Vic. 3672, Australia; Tel: +61 3 5761 1515; Email: raydavidthomas@hotmail.com). The group operates exclusively in the Lurg Hills district 10 km east of Benalla. This project is designed to restore habitats suitable for the Regent Honeyeater and other bird and mammal species that are declining in many agricultural landscapes across southeast Australia.

Abstract

Summary  The Regent Honeyeater Habitat Restoration Project is a landscape scale community effort to protect and restore all significant remnants of native woodland habitat in the agricultural district of the Lurg hills, Victoria. While focus is placed on the Regent Honeyeater, many other declining birds and mammals also benefit from the restoration project. Over 14 years of sustained effort, the project has involved 115 local landholders (approximately 95% of local farms) and about 17 000 volunteers. Together, they have protected relatively healthy remnants by fencing, planted or direct seeded depleted understoreys and replanted open areas that had been cleared for agriculture. Other restoration activities include ecological thinning of ‘pole forests’, mistletoe removal, environmental weeding, feral animal control, kangaroo reduction, systematic monitoring of a range of threatened and declining woodland birds, and nest box placement for hollow-dependent mammals. The works have achieved the rapid closing of some high-priority gaps in the local landscape, connecting the Lurg hills project area to other major regional habitats nearby. The oldest tree plantings are now 12 yrs old and 6-m high and the first Ironbarks flowered in 2006. While the Regent Honeyeater has not yet returned in numbers (because the trees have not yet reached optimum flowering age), surveys and nest box monitoring reveal a range of threatened birds and mammals are already using this project’s regenerated and reconstructed habitats.

Ancillary