Remnant Bushland


Many Australian towns and cities still retain patches of bushland, often in narrow strips along creek lines, or in areas that have been set aside for non-residential purposes. Remnant bushland, even when degraded by weeds, disturbed by changed hydrology or previously cleared of large trees, provides vital habitat for a diversity of bush birds. Larger areas, with less 'edge' are usually less degraded and provide better habitat than narrow corridors.

Many species of bird, particularly small insectivores and honeyeaters have not survived well in human-dominated landscapes. Some species still persist in remnants of bush land in urban areas, but in many cases these species are in decline. People living near patches of remnant bush land have a special opportunity to reduce the effects of urbanisation on these important reservoirs of biodiversity. Careful garden design has the potential both to supplement resources available within the remnant, as well as to reduce threats (e.g., invasive weeds) from other parts of the suburban landscape.

Remnants are vulnerable

Because remnants of bushland tend to be small, they can often only support a few individuals of a particular species. Small populations are particularly vulnerable to extinction, because random events such as the death of a breeding female during a cold snap can disrupt the capacity for the population to recruit new individuals. Activities that minimise such events, such as preventing predation by cats, have particular benefit in neighbourhoods next to bushland.

Encouraging recolonisation

If a population becomes extinct in a bushland remnant there is still potential for birds to recolonise the remnant. However, colonisers will either need to be present in surrounding gardens or to be able to access the remnant from another remnant. Gardens designed to assist wildlife play a valuable role by providing habitat refuges and/or safe habitat through which birds can move from other remnants.

Conservation by councils

Urban bushland may be conserved in Nature Reserves, National or Regional Parks. In New South Wales, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) are legally obliged to manage parks and wildlife areas for biodiversity, so they will have programs that they are running. Ask them what they are doing and see if you can become involved, or if your garden can assist .Many local councils support extensive community volunteer programs to restore and regenerate sites - find out more in Bush care and regeneration.

Related information

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