Year: 2015 - 2017
Location: Gympie Region, QLD
Client: Gympie Regional Council
In their efforts to conserve koalas and their local habitat, Gympie Regional Council (GRC) commissioned Premise to gather current koala sightings and habitat data. This provided updated mapping per the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006-2016 (Environmental Protection Agency 2006), allowing for State Government endorsement and inclusion within GRC’s mapping system.
The final mapping is currently informing the implementation of appropriate policies across the GRC area. Koala habitat value mapping across the GRC area was created by customising the method set out in Policy 7 of the Koala Management Program for the GRC area. Koala habitat areas were identified through koala sightings, field surveys and vegetation mapping, separated into different land cover categories and evaluated for quality and function.
- Koala habitat values across the GRC area were evaluated using:
- Availability of preferred koala feed and shelter trees on particular land zones using Regional Ecosystem mapping and validated by existing sighting data and previous modelling
- Connectivity and corridor function
- Field surveys using a koala scat detection dog
- Land cover analysis taking into account vegetation patch size, shape, canopy density, and level of urbanisation and fragmentation
The Koala Mapping and Koala Conservation Management Plan (KCMP) addressed appropriate actions specific to the Gympie region. Most importantly it also identified target areas for threat mitigation and priority areas for koala conservation and habitat enhancement to ensure actions and funds are directed into areas where it’s most needed and which will provide maximum benefit to koala conservation.
Development of the KCMP was undertaken in three stages:
- Identify threats, practical mitigation measures, conservation, and restoration actions to reduce the impact of current threats, establish safer koala habitat, expand existing core habitat, and improve connectivity.
- Map threats, where possible, and overlay threats upon high resolution koala habitat mapping within the GRC LGA to identify target areas for threat mitigation and priority areas for koala conservation and habitat enhancement.
- Prepare a KCMP that allows protection of koalas into the future through smarter, koala-friendly planning and development within the community.