During this time our organisation has enjoyed working with our partners such as the Birders of the South Pine River and the Pine Rivers Koala Care Association. One collaboration project has been associated around enhancing the habitat for koalas by planting and monitoring the Mount Beerwah Mallee (scientific name: Eucalyptus kabiana).
This tree will provide food for koalas, counter lost habitat, and help provide corridors between existing koala habitats to steer koalas away from roads. It grows to 6m in seven years, and is a sister species to the koala’s favourite food tree, the blue gum, which reaches 20m. The smaller size makes the tree a candidate for planting across the region including urban and industrial areas where they will present less of a problem in turns of falling limbs and interference with power and phone lines.
The project headed up by Associate Professor, Stephen Trueman from the University of the Sunshine Coast who investigated over 20 species of trees and spent nine years in research before selecting the Mallee as a suitable candidate for distribution throughout the region and assisting with the conservation of our local koala population. The project has also been supported by the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
The final stage of this project is to test the growth and resilience of the Mallee in a number of different conditions across the region. As part of this testing process, REF Inc have planted three trees and have commenced a monitoring program to see how they handle the soli acidity and hydrology associated with the Silcock Street Reserve. The data, including rate of growth will be provided to the research team in future years. Let’s hope this tree can help us to enhance the quality of habitat between our remaining natural reserves and the urban and industrial landscape in the Moreton Bay Region.
Further reading http://mysunshinecoast.com.au/news/news-display/dwarf-gum-tree-project-to-help-preserve-urban-koalas,44936
Also see the Pine Rivers Koala Care Association website for more information on this project and other koala initiatives http://www.prkoalacare.com.au/