On January 5, Wildlife Queensland hosted a high level delegation from Vietnam for a conservation corridor site visit
in Australia, building on Australia’s learnings in the practical establishment of wildlife corridors. The delegation is seeking to establish a biodiversity conservation corridor among three provinces in Central Vietnam connecting protected areas.
Professor Hugh Possingham from the University of Queensland opened by outlining the current focus on corridors by all levels of government. He suggested that to plan corridors effectively there needs to be evidence that corridors have a conservation benefit when compared to areas not falling within a corridor. Furthermore data suggests that small scale corridors – at a local community level – can improve fauna populations and habitat; and even on a medium scale – such as the Flinders Karawatha Corridor – there is some data indicating a conservation benefit.
However on a large scale – taking the 2,800 km long Great Eastern Ranges initiative as an example – there is no data to date supporting any environmental gain in establishing a corridor of this magnitude. The questions Professor Possingham proposed should be asked are:
- what is the goal of establishing the corridor?
- what are the measures of success?
- how will these measures be monitored?
The Logan Water Alliance’s Murray Swales, along with Lisa Carter, led the delegation through the Greenwood Lakes rehabilitation project within the corridor. They covered the utilisation of the rehabilitation project as an offset for unavoidable clearing through multiple water infrastructure projects, progressively building on previous revegetation work and leading to economies of scale within the site.
Murray went on to outline the legislation requirements, planning process, innovations, monitoring and successes of the project. By emphasising lessons learned, such as erosion control, as well as highly successful innovations – including their irrigation system – Murray provided experience-based information to assist the delegation in establishing effective practices. Logan City Councillors, Cr Petersen and Cr Smith both attended the welcome, with Cr Petersen staying on for the full program.
Next, Karen Brock, Wildlife Queensland’s senior projects officer, provided an overview of our glider habitat enhancement and connectivity project leveraging off the rehabilitation work of the Logan Water Alliance.
Karen expanded on the elements of the process including:
- mapping known glider populations within the corridor
- locating a break in the corridor’s habitat connectivity that Wildlife Queensland had the capacity to address
- gaining landholder permission to enhance the site
- understanding the gliders’ habitat requirements
- assessing threats and mitigating where possible
- enhancing and linking habitat and
- ongoing monitoring to measure the success of the corridor project.
Karen demonstrated how Wildlife Queensland is carrying out the project within the confines of limited funding by utilising its relationships with academic institutions, leading researchers, donated materials and volunteer time leading to each conservation dollar achieving roughly seven times the conservation outcomes of a model not community-based. She concluded by suggesting that a combination of state government and local council work, with multiple community-based models leveraging off that work not only achieve more together, but also engage and raise awareness in the local community.
Wildlife Queensland Projects team members, including Ewa Meyer and Karen Brock, guided the delegates through a Brisbane City Council nest box installation site enhancing wildlife habitats in the absence of sufficient natural hollows, demonstrating best practice monitoring techniques.
The day concluded with an inspection of the Compton Road Crossing Structures Array, providing an overview of the different crossing structures mitigating road barriers for wildlife. Karen Brock outlined the history and construction of the Compton Road crossings and the results of monitoring studies led by researchers such as Professor Darryl Jones of Griffith University, including the diversity of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species utilising each crossing type.
It is hoped that the learnings conveyed through the day translate as a greater conservation achievement for Vietnam’s Conservation Corridor Project – on a national scale.
Australia helps pave the way for conservation in Vietnam – December 2012More Information
For more information on Wildlife Queensland’s activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.