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Our Big Spring Monitoring Report findings from the conservation reserve

In partnership with Greening Australia we recently completed a survey of the 2,117 hectare conservation reserve we care for, and here’s what we found.

In 2017 we launched our Reimagining the Future 10-year strategy for the conservation reserve with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature. In 2023 our Big Spring Monitoring Report survey results show the impact of our work restoring nature and biodiversity and identifies learnings for the future.

Increasing habitats in the woodlands

Canopies in revegetated woodlands have increased by around 20% over the past 5 years, which has enhanced habitat for many animals, including the adorable western pygmy possum. This means we can focus on increasing understorey diversity beneath the canopies, where many other animals live, such as the 143 invertebrates that call the conservation reserve home. These animals perform important duties like pollination, nutrient cycling and decomposition of food for other animals. Logs and low-lying bark in the understorey are also habitat for the painted dragon, a threatened reptile species recorded on the reserve, which is so small it would sit comfortably on your fingertips.

Photo credit: Nature Glenelg Trust

A safe haven for threatened species

There were 9 threatened fauna species recorded across the reserve, including the impressive south-eastern red tailed black cockatoo. This is just one of 113 unique bird species detected in the Big Spring Monitoring survey, and many of those were found in restored woodland areas. This is a sign that revegetation is working well, providing new areas for foraging and habitats. There were even some species that had never been recorded on the Salvana property in the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, such as the fiery jewel butterfly and painted dragon.

Photo credit: Nature Glenelg Trust

Learnings for the future

The survey has confirmed something we already knew, which is that nature repair takes time. There were differences between remnant vegetation and revegetated areas on the reserve, even after years of careful attention and restoration. This confirmed for us the importance of protecting what we have now, while also working to regenerate nature for the future. We implemented a climate-adjusted direct seeding trial for some restoration work on the reserve, which didn’t work as well as we hoped due to heavy browsing pressure and serves as a reminder why monitoring and evaluation are so important in conservation work. This survey has helped us discover what’s working well and where we can make changes, and we’ll continue embedding these learnings into our conservation efforts for the future.

Photo credit: Nature Glenelg Trust

Our commitment to protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity

Nature underpins life and is something we all depend on, and we are committed to taking action on behalf of our customers to protect and restore nature and biodiversity. Look out for our Nature and Biodiversity Strategy, which we’ll be launching in early 2024.

Read about the conservation reserve