Habitat Restoration Fund’s approach to creating more homes for wildlife is based on proven methodologies, research and practical experience gained over the last 25 years. It all started with a grazing property on the Mornington Peninsula.
In the 1980s, very little was known about the correct way to rehabilitate the natural environment. So, with the help of a small number of environmental enthusiasts, they set about trying various methods to bring back wildlife.
Over the next decade, extensive works were carried out across some 50 acres. They experimented with various methods of revegetation, weed control, earthworks, breeding programs, back-burning and others to try and bring back wildlife.
By the time they had rehabilitated the entire 50 acres, they had accumulated a wealth of practical information on what actually does bring back wildlife. They were left with no doubt that the best way to bring back wildlife was to focus on providing the habitat in which it could survive, rather than focusing on the animals themselves. In practical terms, providing habitat begins with the rehabilitation of indigenous vegetation.
They identified that the underlying principles regarding the rehabilitation of indigenous vegetation could be summarized as:-
- Survey the site to identify areas of low quality vegetation, up to high quality vegetation.
- Identify the processes that are damaging indigenous vegetation (such as weed invasion or existing land uses).
- Rank the processes in terms of what is having the highest negative impact on indigenous vegetation.
- Identify the actions required to stop the negative processes (such as weed control or livestock fencing).
- Carry out the required actions, beginning in areas of best vegetation quality first. Only tackle an area for which follow-up work can be guaranteed.
- Revegetation should only be used where there is virtually no potential for the bush to grow back itself e.g. a denuded paddock.
- Reconnect isolated pockets of natural vegetation by establishing a ‘wildlife corridor’ between them using indigenous plants.
- Replace absent components of habitat that natural vegetation may not be able to provide in the short to medium term e.g. hollow logs for nesting sites.
- Take the time to conduct all activities as environmentally sensitive as possible. In the long term this will be economically favourable, as well as minimizing disturbance to any existing flora and fauna.
Many years later, some of these individuals set out to establish the HRF, in order to share their knowledge and passion for environmental rehabilitation with the broader community. In conjunction with landholders and relevant land management authorities, HRF used these principles to conduct habitat restoration works on 9 sites located across the Mornington Peninsula. More details on these Survey Sites can be found in our 'Projects Section'.