The evidence behind the need to protect and enhance woodlands, grasslands and alpine bogs as a high priority is strong, and is underpinned by a large body of work undertaken by the Conservation, Planning and Research Unit as well as research at the national level. The focus in the ACT is centred around connectivity of habitat for threatened woodland birds, protection and enhancement of grasslands, and protection of Alpine Bogs and fens. This section provides a snapshot of this research and how it underpins the ACT Natural Resource Management (NRM) Investment Plan.
Bird occurrence data was used to identify important populations of targeted threatened species. Vegetation mapping was used to identify core habitat for breeding, foraging and dispersal. This data included:
- breeding season records for declining birds sourced from the Canberra Ornithologists Group
- wildlife corridor mapping - woodland and open forest habitat and priority areas for investment in native vegetation protection and revegetation gathered by ACT Government and NSW Government
Priorities for management
Rural areas have been identified as a high priority with some complementary priorities and opportunities identified on public land. Long term bird surveys have demonstrated a steady decline in threatened birds within and adjacent to urban areas in the ACT, however understanding of the reasons behind this decline is poor, and as such the prioritisation process has minimised investment in urban areas until further information can be obtained.
Molonglo, Murrumbidgee Valley and Googong have been identified as priority areas , with a focus on open woodland areas. Activities and outcomes will be strongly reliant landholder interest due to a prevalence of priority sites on rural lands.
Projects and partnerships
NSW Government (South East Local Land Services) are supporting programs to enhance habitat for woodland birds including the Southern Tablelands Flyway which enhances habitat for the Superb Parrot to the north of the ACT and the Googong Flyway which improves and protects habitat for the Scarlet Robin.
- Higher altitude sites are more susceptible to the impacts of climate change than those at lower elevations, and elevation data was used as an indicator of a site’s vulnerability to climate change.
- Pest animal distribution such as deer, pigs and horses to determine areas at risk of degradation.
- Weed occurrence and treatment data were used to determine threat to sites.
- ACT Parks and Conservation Service
- ACT Conservation Planning and Research
Priorities for management
- High altitude sphagnum bogs were found to be the highest priority, followed by bogs at lower altitudes (See map)
- These sites have been identified for climate change ecological monitoring, vertebrate pest control, weed control, and visitor management.
- Deer were found to be a particular issue for Alpine Bogs over and above other vertebrate pests, and therefore a major focus for investment.
- Sites for deer monitoring and weed control will be selected based on an asset protection basis.