Research partnership for habitat restoration

An audit of koala activity in the Springsure region has begun as part of a conservation program.
An audit of koala activity in the Springsure region has begun as part of a conservation program.

XSTRATA Coal has continued its research partnership with the Koala Research Centre of Central Queensland, hosted by CQUniversity, to trial koala habitat restoration in the Springsure region in Central Queensland.

Koala populations in the area have reduced in response to pressures such as drought and the declining health of native vegetation.

A commitment of $100,000 from Xstrata Coal will be used to trial the restoration of vegetation and habitat in the Minerva Hills National Park and Norwood Creek Water Reserve, then along other regional streams.

Restoration tree planting and an audit of the recovering koala population began yesterday on Norwood Creek just west of Springsure.

A team from Conservation Volunteers Australia will join koala researcher Dr Alistair Melzer, members from Central Queensland Koala Volunteers, Central Highlands Regional Council and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to plant koala food trees along degraded stream banks.

An audit of koala activity will be undertaken over the 10-day field expedition.

"Conservation planning for the koala is critical to its survival," Dr Alistair Melzer, adjunct research fellow from the Centre for Environmental Management at CQUniversity, said.

"The continued support of Xstrata Coal means our centre's research team is able to continue to nurture the koala habitat and plan for the koala's future across the region.

"Koalas are part of the Australian landscape and to understand why we are losing them and how to get them back is important.

"The tree-planting field trip will trial restoration techniques and lay the foundation for the koalas recovery in the region."

The funding is also being used to develop resource material and restoration protocols, with field trials to establish preferred restoration techniques.

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