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Future proofing habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater

News

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Future proofing habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater

Mick Callan

More than 300 new Yellow Box and Mugga Ironbark trees have been planted in the Capertee National Park to restore habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.

“The Capertee National Park, North of Lithgow, is probably the most important patch of natural habitat left for the Regent,” said Huw Evans from Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

“However the park was once farmland and most of the river flats, which would have been prime Regent habitat, were cleared of trees, pasture improved and cropped.”

Local Land Services, the Australian National University (ANU), the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, and the Skillset Green Army with support from the Lithgow City Council, have worked together to replant Yellow Box and Mugga Ironbark trees in this landscape.

According to Ross Crates, from the ANU’s ‘Difficult Bird Research Group’, as the trees mature over the next thirty to forty years, they will substantially extend breeding habitat for the Regent Honeyeater which will be critical for the recovery of the species.

“Our monitoring has revealed that the Capertee National Park is a critical breeding site, potentially attracting more than 20 percent of the remaining wild population,” said Ross.

“The birds are currently severely restricted to a very small area of the park that was not cleared for agriculture in the past, and where the Regent’s preferred food trees persist.”

“We have identified critical breeding areas for revegetation, particularly focused on planting Yellow Box adjacent to rivers and creeks and Mugga Ironbark near existing woodland, to provide foraging habitat for Regent Honeyeaters during the breeding season,” said Ross.

Capertee National Park Ranger, Adam Bryce, also played a key role in the strategic revegetation project, sourcing seedlings and materials for planting.

“With help from the Green Army, we fenced every tree individually so the seedlings won’t get eaten by kangaroos and will have the best chance to grow into large, mature trees,” said Adam.

It is expected the newly planted trees will start providing a food source for the Regent Honeyeater within the next twenty years, supporting the long term survival of the species.

For more information about strategic Regent Honeyeater revegetation in the Capertee Valley National Park contact Senior Land Services Officer Huw Evans from Local Land Services on phone: 02 6350 3117 or email:  huw.evans@lls.nsw.gov.au