Habitat Creation – Hobart & Southern Tasmania

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Tree hollows are holes or cavities in trees that provide important shelter and breeding sites for many animals. These hollows can be found anywhere from the base of the tree to the small branches near the tree top. They can be used by a wide range of animals, including birds, bats, possums, and insects. Some species, such as the Swift Parrot, are entirely dependent on tree hollows for survival.

Hollows are created over very long periods of time through environmental processes. Hollow development starts with damage to the tree. This can be caused by fire, dropping branches, animals or some other physical damage. These areas provide entry points for fungi which leads to decay and further hollowing out. Insects, such as ants, also contribute to the process. Although fire can help create and enlarge hollows, it can also destroy hollow-bearing trees.

Due to land clearing for agriculture, plantation establishment, pre-urban development and firewood cutting, the availability of tree hollows has declined significantly in many parts of Tasmania. This has led to a decline in the diversity and abundance of hollow-dependent fauna. To address this issue, we have developed a policy and service to retain, create and maintain more hollows.

As arborists, we can play a role in creating habitat for hollow-dependent species by retaining habitat trees and minimizing the associated risks. We use techniques such as chainsaw carving and nesting box installation to create or augment hollows in live or dead trees. This can be particularly valuable where natural hollows are in short supply. Additionally, we can provide advice on the best way to manage trees to retain their hollows and other habitat values.

It is important to note that while these techniques can be valuable in conservation efforts, they are not a replacement for naturally occurring habitats and should be used in conjunction with conservation efforts to protect natural habitats

Chainsaw Carved Hollows

Chainsaw carved hollows refer to a method of creating artificial tree hollows using a chainsaw. This method is often used by arborists and wildlife conservationists as a way to provide habitat for hollow-dependent species. The process involves cutting a cavity into a live or dead tree using a chainsaw, and shaping it to mimic a natural hollow. The size and shape of the cavity can be tailored to attract specific species of animals.

Nesting Box Installation

Nesting box installation, on the other hand, is a method of providing artificial nesting sites for animals. Nesting boxes are typically made of wood or other durable materials and are designed to mimic natural nesting sites. They are often installed in trees or on poles in open areas, such as parks or gardens. The boxes can be designed to attract specific species of birds, bats, or other animals, and can be placed at different heights and locations to suit the needs of the species. Nesting boxes can be an effective way to provide habitat for animals in areas where natural nesting sites are scarce or have been destroyed.

Chainsaw Carved Hollows for Ground Dwelling Vertebrates

Chainsaw carved hollows for ground-dwelling vertebrates involve using a chainsaw to carve large cavities into upturned logs or other suitable materials. These artificial burrows mimic natural burrows and provide a safe and secure shelter for ground-dwelling animals like wombats and devils. The size, shape and location of the carved hollows are important to ensure that they are suitable for the target species. The entrance should be large enough for the animal to enter and exit easily, and the hollow should be deep enough to provide a secure and protected area. The location of the carved hollows should also be considered, as they need to be in an area where the target species are known to or are likely to occur. These carved hollows can be used as a management tool to enhance the habitat for ground-dwelling species and can be implemented in areas where natural burrows are scarce or have been lost due to activities such as land clearing, agricultural or urban development.

Habitat Monitoring

Monitoring the effectiveness of habitat augmentation techniques, such as chainsaw carved hollows for ground-dwelling vertebrates, is crucial for evaluating the success of conservation efforts. This monitoring can be achieved through our data collection methodology, which includes monitoring the use of artificial burrows and cavities by target species and non-target species. By monitoring the use of these habitats, we can determine if the habitat augmentation is providing suitable habitat for the target species and if any adjustments need to be made to the technique.

The data collected includes information on the number of individuals, as well as the species and all the important characteristics and dimensions of the hollow. Additionally, we monitor the physical condition of the habitats, such as the degree deterioration and water ingress, to determine if they need to be replaced or repaired

It is also important to monitor to see if non-target species are being attracted to the habitats, as this can have negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. For example, the presence of invasive species can lead to competition with native species for resources, particularly the nesting habitat, and can also lead to the spread of diseases.

In addition to monitoring the use of the habitats, it is important to conduct population surveys of the target species to determine if the habitats are contributing to population growth or stabilization. This can be done through techniques such as capture mark-recapture or radio-tagging or camera traps.

Monitoring the effectiveness of habitat augmentation techniques is essential for ensuring that conservation efforts are having a positive impact on target species and for making any necessary adjustments to the techniques and dimensions of the hollows. Regular monitoring should be conducted at least annually to ensure that the habitats are being used effectively, evict non-target species and to addressed any issues in a timely manner.

Our Commitment

Tasmanian Tree Care is committed to providing sustainable solutions for the conservation of native wildlife. Tasmania is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many obligate nesting dependent species such as the Swift Parrot. These species rely on tree hollows for breeding and shelter, and their populations are under threat due to the loss of suitable habitat. As arborists, we have an important role to play in preserving and enhancing habitat for these species through hollow creation and augmentation techniques. Our services go beyond simply creating these habitats, as we understand the importance of monitoring and data collection to ensure that our efforts are effectively benefiting the target species.

Regular monitoring is essential to evaluate the success of the habitat augmentation. By checking the artificial hollows and carved logs at least annually, we can gather important data on the utilisation of the habitats and make any necessary adjustments to improve their suitability. This data collection also helps to detect any potential issues, such as the colonization by invasive or non-target species.

At Tasmanian Tree Care, we take a holistic approach to tree care and are dedicated to providing effective and sustainable solutions. Our habitat augmentation and monitoring services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each site and species, ensuring that our efforts make a meaningful impact on the conservation of native fauna. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in the preservation and habitat augmentation for hollow dependent species in your area.


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