The glass is both half-full and half-empty for the future of local koalas according to a report released today.
The forested patch between historical koala hotspots Wamban and Nerrigundah was investigated by volunteers from the Eurobodalla Koala Project.
They are hopeful but nervous about what they discovered.
The potential of the patch to offer suitable habitat for low-density koala revival was confirmed, but with significant caveats in respect of previous clearing, topography, soil fertility and possible future disturbance.
Key lessons for the future environmental management of this patch are the maintenance of its landscape-scale connectivity to other habitat patches, and avoidance of further disturbance through increased frequency and intensity of wildfire, urban development or over-intensive agri-industry.
Under a contract between the Commonwealth Government and The Coastwatchers Association Inc (the Eurobodalla's not-for-profit environment group) and with fieldwork hosted by Forestry Corporation NSW and National Parks and Wildlife Service, the local volunteers analysed vegetation types, topography, geology, soil, water, shade and fire impact.
Field-based data were matched with maps and datasets held by the NSW Government, as well as scholarly documents.
Above: volunteers Ross Heazlewood and Keith Joliffe examining a research plot in Dampier State Forest.