ACT Committee calls for greater protection for mature native habitat trees

The loss of older native trees that provide crucial habitat for many native animals has been recognised as one of the main threats facing vulnerable Superb Parrots and Glossy Black-cockatoos in the ACT.

ACT Conservator Ian Walker advised “mature native trees, which have developed hollows within the trunk and branches, are an important form of habitat for mammals, reptiles, bats and birds, who use the hollows to nest, raise young and shelter from predators.

“Following advice from the ACT Scientific Committee to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, ‘The Loss of mature trees and a lack of recruitment’ has been added to the Key Threatening Processes list under the Nature Conservation Act 2014. This will be the first listing of a Key Threatening Process in the ACT.

“It will also mean an action plan can be developed with detailed measures on what can be implemented to provide greater protection for mature trees.

“Mature trees can provide crucial habitat that can take over a century to replace. Hollow formation is an incredibly slow process with most hollows forming in eucalypt trees after 120 years. They are formed through weather damage, branch shedding, insect attack, and advanced through modification by strong-billed native parrots like cockatoos and galahs.

“Since urbanisation and land clearing began in the ACT region, there has been a dramatic decline of mature aged trees.

“Competition for suitable nesting hollows is fierce, and birds such as superb parrots, that migrate to the ACT each year, must work extra hard to compete with our resident parrot community for nesting hollows.

“Superb parrots, like many other threatened Australian birds including swift parrots, brown treecreepers and glossy black-cockatoos, are unlikely to persist in the ACT without stronger protections of hollow-bearing trees.

“I would like to thank the ACT Conservation Council who made the original nomination that has led to this listing, and the ACT Scientific Committee for their high quality advice, which together has made this announcement possible.”

Image shows a Superb Parrot in a native tree habitat.

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