Planning for Conservation Success at Wombat Ridge
Success requires planning, and it's no different when it comes to caring for country. That's why as custodians of 50-hectares of Australian bush in the Southern Highlands of NSW, my family uses this Five Year Conservation Management Plan to look after and improve Wombat Ridge Nature Reserve.
At Wombat Ridge Nature Reserve we are privileged to be caring for country that supports endangered species like Koalas, Gang gang and Glossy black cockatoos, Rosenberg goannas, Scarlet and Flame robins, Swift parrots, and Hoary sunray daisies among others. Their survival depends on us. To that end, our Conservation Management Plan is a forward-looking roadmap based on science and Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). It is designed to protect and enhance the Reserve's biodiversity and ecological integrity.
The Plan is currently moving into Year Two if its five-year cycle. It has ten key initiatives which form the foundation of our efforts:
1. Integrated Vertebrate Pest Management: A comprehensive approach to control invasive vertebrate animals, including foxes, feral pigs, goats, deer, rabbits, hares, and feral cats.
2. Integrated Weed Management: Combining volunteer efforts and targeted weed spraying to combat invasive plants that threaten native vegetation and wildlife.
3. Assisted and Natural Regeneration: Implementing measures such as tree-guarding and strategic use of dead wood to promote locally endemic trees and restore vital habitat.
4. Indigenous Cultural Burning: Conducting traditional cultural burning in the cooler months to enhance habitat and reduce the risks associated with intense wildfires.
5. Nest Boxes for Hollow-nesting Species: Installing and monitoring nest boxes for priority species, such as Glossy black cockatoos and Gang gang cockatoos, to compensate for a relative absence of old-growth trees.
6. Regular Fauna and Flora Surveys: Employing camera traps and regular surveys to monitor species distribution and the effectiveness of our conservation efforts.
7. Selective Tree Thinning: Initiating careful tree thinning of overabundant casuarina trees to restore balance to the woodland ecosystem.
8. Herbivore Exclusion Trial: Establishing an exclusion trial to study the impact of removing herbivores to promote woodland restoration.
9. Additional Measures: Water point maintenance for animals during drought and fires, and signage installation to stop tress-passing protect the Reserve from human disturbances.
10. Sharing Stories and Lessons Learned: Engaging with our local community and promoting awareness to foster a sense of collective responsibility for conservation efforts.
Our Conservation Management Plan at Wombat Ridge is a blueprint for ecological recovery. It combines scientific knowledge, Indigenous cultural practices, community engagement and rigorous monitoring and evaluation. It allows us to prioritise our efforts to protect and enhance the Reserve's precious biodiversity. By sharing our journey and lessons learned, we hope to inspire others to join us. Together, we can ensure that more of the Australian bush is safe, now and into the future, for the wildlife that calls it home.
We are grateful for generous funding support and conservation management advice from the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.