Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

The value of habitat reconstruction to birds at Gunnedah, New South Wales

Warren K. Martin, Melissa Eyears-Chaddock, Brian R. Wilson and John Lemon

Emu 104(2) 177 - 189
Published: 23 June 2004


Birds were surveyed at 12 sites near Gunnedah on the Liverpool Plains, New South Wales, between April 2000 and June 2001. Sites were located in habitat-reconstruction trials of three different ages (three, six and eight years since planting), as well as 50-year-old woodlots, remnant Eucalyptus albens woodland and cleared cropping/grazing paddocks. The habitat-reconstruction trials were separated from a large area of remnant native vegetation by not more than 200 m. A total of 72 bird species was recorded from all sites. In general, an increase in the number of species was recorded across the vegetation age gradient, with fewest species recorded in the cleared paddocks and the largest number of species in the remnant woodlands. The largest number of individual birds per survey was recorded in the eight-year-old habitat reconstruction sites and the 50-year-old woodlots, where large numbers of a few species occurred. Seven of eight different foraging groups were recorded in the habitat-reconstruction sites, as were five of 10 species whose populations are considered to be in decline. The habitat-reconstruction trials have been successful so far in providing habitat to a wide range of woodland birds, including a number of species of conservation concern. However, some species, including the bark-foraging group, were not recorded outside the remnant woodland areas, and further consideration needs to be given to the needs of these species in habitat-reconstruction areas. Both the protection of remnant woodland areas and habitat-reconstruction activities will be important for the conservation of bird communities on the Liverpool Plains.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2004

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