What you can do

Simple actions can make a big difference in managing and enhancing biodiversity on your land and improving your productivity. You can manage existing grassland, paddock trees or bushland to ensure it is in its best possible condition. You can revegetate cleared or degraded areas.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. The ticks next to habitat, ecosystem services or connectivity indicate where your actions will have the most effect, with three ticks having the  greatest benefit and one tick providing some benefit.

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Manage Grassland or Native Pasture

ticks - manage grasslandMANAGE GRAZING
A diversity of species of grasses and forbs benefits both wildlife and livestock. You can achieve this by resting pastures and managing the intensity and duration of grazing. Short periods of high intensity grazing usually favour pasture diversity. Avoid grazing when grasses and forbs are flowering or developing seed. Resting paddocks helps to break parasite lifecycles too.

tick - maintain high ground coverMAINTAIN HIGH GROUND COVER
Manage grazing to ensure a high percentage groundcover is maintained to prevent loss of soil and nutrients and to minimise evaporation. Reduce stocking during dry spells and use rotation to rest paddocks.

INCREASE SPECIES DIVERSITY
Many native pastures are low in species diversity because of past grazing practices. ticks - increase species diversityIncrease diversity by allowing other species to regenerate (blown-in seed) or manage grazing to allow uncommon species to set seed. Use revegetation to establish species such as kangaroo grass, Mitchell grass and native sorghum.

Manage Paddock Trees

ticks - keep and protect paddock treesKEEP AND PROTECT PADDOCK TREES
Paddock trees are vital for wildlife and provide shelter and nutrient cycling for pastures, crops and stock. Protect them from bark damage and keep the area under the canopy drip line undisturbed. In grazing systems, use paddock trees as the basis for creating clumps by fencing and revegetating around them. Old paddock trees are virtually irreplaceable as it takes over 120 years to create hollows suitable for insect-eating birds and bats.

Revegetate

tick - create new bushland patchesCREATE NEW BUSHLAND PATCHES
Patches from ½ to 100 ha provide homes and food for all sorts of wildlife. As they get older the number of animals that can use them increases. The bigger the patch, the more animals can live there. They can be created around existing trees or smaller patches, in the corner of paddocks or out in the open.

tick - plant scattered treesPLANT SCATTERED TREES
Research shows that many declining bird species can't move across open farmland, but will jump between bushland patches using scattered trees. The gap between trees should be <80 m. Plant single trees at wide spacings protected from livestock by sturdy guards. Trees can be in a line or randomly scattered.

tick - wildlife corridorsWILDLIFE CORRIDORS
Typical wildlife corridors are belts of trees 15-100m wide linking two patches of bushland. Use a mix of trees and shrubs appropriate to the natural vegetation. Incorporating water (dams, creeks or rivers) into the corridor will increase its habitat value. Corridors should link up to another patch of bushland every 1.5 km, otherwise wildlife becomes too vulnerable to predators.

tick - shelterbelts or alley farmingSHELTERBELTS OR ALLEY FARMING
Linear tree corridors can significantly reduce the effect of wind on livestock, crops and pastures. Shelterbelts are usually 2-6 rows wide placed perpendicular to the prevailing or  damaging wind direction. Careful design ensures the shelter benefits far outweigh the production lost through competition. Wide-spaced alleys in crops can reduce moisture loss and the abrasive effects of wind-borne soil particles.

tick - roadside plantingsROADSIDE PLANTINGS
Roadsides often contain native vegetation that is very important for wildlife moving through the landscape. New plantings in gaps can increase connectivity and provide shelter to adjacent properties. They can also shade out weeds, reducing weed control costs and fire risk. Careful design is needed to maximise safety and allow road maintenance.

tick - farm forestryFARM FORESTRY
Plantings of commercial species can provide timber, honey, seed, cut flowers, bush foods, firewood and other products. Plantations from 1-1000ha increase the diversity of the landscape, while providing income diversity for landholders.

BUG BANKS
tick - bug banksDense plantings of flowering shrubs among crops will encourage beneficial insects such as pollinators and the predators and parasites of crop pests. Research shows there are great benefits to cotton and other crops from beneficials. These plantings can fit in crop headlands, between irrigation infrastructure or in rows within the crop itself.

tick - house and shed plantingsHOUSE AND SHED PLANTINGS
Have you seen how many more birds there are in your garden compared to the open paddock? Even our house gardens can provide habitat for many species. Plantings of trees and shrubs around houses and sheds provide shade, wind shelter and look great too.

tick - seed production areasSEED PRODUCTION AREAS
Some trees, shrubs and grasses are difficult or costly to collect seed from because they are naturally scattered or only hold their seed for a few days. Well-designed plantations of these species can produce seed for sale for use in other sites. SPAs will have some value for wildlife.

tick - mid-paddock clumpsMID-PADDOCK CLUMPS
In grazing systems, clumps of trees planted throughout a paddock can provide shade and shelter from wind. Use circular or multi-sided designs so stock can access the shade or shelter anywhere. Specific fencing designs are available. Wildlife will use these clumps as rest stops.

Manage Existing Bushland

tick - fence to manage grazingFENCE TO MANAGE GRAZING
Putting a fence around a bushland patch doesn't mean it's locked up forever. Put a gate in and you can control when your stock go into the patch and for how long. During the rest periods the native plants will have a chance to grow, flower and set seed, ensuring that they survive.

tick - control weedsCONTROL WEEDS
Controlling weeds allows other native plants to grow and survive. Both noxious weeds (such as boxthorn) and environmental weeds (Coolatai and buffel grass) should be controlled.

CONTROL FERAL ANIMALS
tick - control feral animalsFoxes, pigs and cats kill native wildlife and stock and spread disease. Rabbits and pigs destroy the habitat for wildlife as well as damaging crops and pastures. Controlling ferals in bushland patches should be coordinated with neighbours and use a combination of baiting, shooting, trapping and warren destruction as appropriate.

tick - prevent or manage firePREVENT OR MANAGE FIRE
Fire is devastating to Brigalow and Semi-evergreen vine thicket communities. Controlling dense grass, particularly buffel and Coolatai in and around these patches reduces the chance and intensity of fire. Crash-grazing or mowing around these communities can prevent fire reaching them.

tick - make bushland patches biggerMAKE BUSHLAND PATCHES BIGGER
Create a buffer around existing bushland to provide more habitat, increase connectivity and protect the core from damage from fire and storms. Allow natural regeneration to do this or use revegetation techniques.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PLANT SPECIES
tick - increase the number of plant speciesMany patches of bushland have fewer species than they should because of past grazing or burning practices. Many patches only have trees and are missing the whole understorey. Selective planting of other species that naturally occur there will increase the habitat for wildlife.

 

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