Artificial hollows installed as new homes for Guyra gliders

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services staff installed the artificial hollows in partnership with the Banbai Indigenous Rangers
16th Apr 2024

Sixty eight artificial tree hollows have been installed at the Wattleridge Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and surrounding private properties to provide new homes for Yellow-bellied gliders, Greater gliders and other hollow dependent species in the wake of the 2019/2020 bushfires that swept through the area 35 kilometres east of Guyra.
The ‘Healthy Hollows’ project has been undertaken by and the Banbai community.
Glider species rely on tree hollows as habitat, which can take 70-120 years to form in native forests. Areas severely impacted by bushfire, such as the Wattleridge IPA, often lose many of the available hollow bearing trees and become dominated by younger regrowth which presents a threat to glider populations without suitable habitat for shelter and nesting during the day.
The installation of artificial tree hollows ‘artificially ages’ forests to provide nesting hollows for hollow dependent species.
Land Services Officer Nereda Christian said that land clearing, climate change and the increased frequency of severe bushfire events all present a threat to these species.
“This important project has been a team effort, and a great opportunity to work with the Banbai Indigenous rangers,” Nereda said.
“The rangers have already undertaken a lot of work to conserve the area and are getting young people back on Country.”
Part of the traditional lands of the Banbai community, the Wattleridge IPA is managed by the Wattleridge Rangers along with the Tarriwa Kurrukun IPA in partnership with the property owners, the Banbai people.
The rangers help to protect the land’s wildlife habitats, educate visitors on the conservation values, run a seed nursery for revegetation of degraded areas, map and control feral animals and promote the biodiversity of the area.
Banbai Ranger Kane Patterson said that after the bush fires Wattleridge was severely impacted and many older habitat trees were burnt.
“It has been great seeing these habitat boxes and hollows installed to give our fauna a home”, Kane said.
With the artificial hollows installed by arborists on site, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and the Banbai Indigenous Rangers have also worked directly with ecologists, private landholders, researchers, and government agencies to bring the project to life.
Two different methods of hollow installation were used with 34 ‘Hollow-hog’ hollows and 34 modular nest hollows being installed in order to compare the benefits associated with each method. The ‘Hollow-hog’ wood-boring tool represents new technology that makes internal cavities in the timber of live trees, whilst the modular nest boxes can be erected externally on the trunk of trees.
Both methods mimic the physical and thermal properties of natural tree hollows and each are flexible enough to provide different entrances thereby making them suitable for a variety of hollow dwelling species.
 The ‘Healthy Hollows’ project is a continuation of work that was undertaken in 2022-2023 under the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery for Species and Landscapes Program, which saw 139 artificial hollows and 110 chainsaw hollows created on the Wattleridge IPA and surrounding properties.

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