A newly released East Lynne carrying capacity study suggests the area could support four resident koala groups, if natural post-wildfire recovery is accompanied by deliberate land management intervention.
Focus points for koala recovery would be Cockwhy, Benandarah, Murramarang and Kioloa.
Local volunteer group Eurobodalla Koalas conducted the study, supported by the Great Eastern Ranges World Wildlife Fund for Nature "Cores, Corridors and Koalas" South Coast Project (Eurobodalla - lower Shoalhaven) co-hosted by the Coastwatchers Association.
Lead author Keith Joliffe said “There is probably one small resident group surviving after the devastating Currowan fire. There have always been rare but persistent koala reports in this precinct. Forested connectivity from East Lynne to other places, new knowledge about koala tree use, improved mapping, and interest in habitat and possible revival shown by local landholders, prompted this study.”
Dr Joliffe explained the fire caused a long-term four per cent reduction in ecosystem persistence, but private landholders, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Queanbeyan/Palerang Councils, Forestry Corporation NSW and National Parks and Wildlife Service have a clear path ahead if they would like to use East Lynne to contribute to the State’s koala rescue mission.
“The key to success is preservation and rehabilitation of vegetation connectivity” Dr Joliffe added “with special emphasis on creek lines and fire management such as strategic control lines, cool burning and planting fire retardant species.”
Image: Koala habitat survey in burnt forest
The East Lynne koala carrying capacity report is at website link https://eurokoalas.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/east-lynne-koala-carrying-capacity-study-as-pdf.pdf