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    What makes a house a home?

    Diamond FiretailOur amazing native wildlife has needs that are not very different from our own, after all we’re animals too, something we often forget!  Just like us our native wildlife also require a house to live in. But just having shelter is not enough, a point made by Darryl Kerrigan in the iconic Australian comedy The Castle when he exclaimed 'It's not a house, it's a home'.  But what makes a house a home?  It’s not enough to have four walls and a roof, we also need furniture, heating and of course food.

    We also have social needs such as finding a mate and a supportive network of friends and relatives.But to access all these things we need connectivity in the form of a road network to get us from our home to the shops, schools, restaurants and pubs.Our native wildlife don’t have cars, but they do need the opportunity to move across the landscape to find food, socialise with their friends and family, find a mate and raise a family.

    Using our native birds as an example, the trees of our forests and woodlands provide their ‘four walls and a roof’ but that alone isn’t enough to provide a home, referred to by ecologists as ‘habitat’. They also need furniture in the form of shrubs, native grasses and forbs (little flowering plants that grow amongst the grasses) and a good supply of food, often in the form of nectar from blossoms and bugs that live and feed on live and dead vegetation as well as in the soil.  Many small native birds can’t fly over large distances without a network of bird roads, or connectivity, between habitat patches to gain access to this food and to socialise.  A bird road may take the form of a thin corridor or many small patches of vegetation, such as paddock trees, used as stepping stones to move between larger habitat patches.

    The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) have been utilising satellite mapping and other tools to develop a  greater understanding of ‘how’ and ‘where’ to create new habitat and help our native wildlife survive in an increasingly uncertain future. Landowners in the New England Tablelands can participate in the implementation of habitat corridors and can access assistance from organisations such as Southern New England Landcare and Citizens Wildlife Corridors.

    Southern New England Landcare are currently developing funding applications for natural resource management projects including wildlife corridors. If you do not have a current expression of interest with us or would like to update your project details contact the office. To find out more contact the Landcare office on 02 6772 9123.

    Article by By Tom Barrett, NSW OEH.


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