Revegetation and restoration in rural landscapes
Revegetation (replanting) is changing the face of many rural landscapes. Landholders and community groups are actively involved in revegetation activities to restore landscapes where excessive loss of native vegetation has occurred. But what are the benefits of revegetation for wildlife?
Will revegetation bring species ‘back’ into rural environments? Or simply provide additional habitat for common species already present?
We selected 43 rural landscapes (each 800 ha) in SW Victoria to represent:
- landscapes with increasing amounts of revegetation (from 1 – 19% of the landscape)
- landscapes with decreasing amounts of remnant vegetation (18% down to 1%)
- landscapes with a mix of both remnants and revegetation.
Birds were surveyed at 12 sites in each landscape. Mammals, frogs and butterflies were surveyed in subsets of these landscapes.
In total, 152 species of birds was recorded, with 40-78 species per landscape. Of the 60 species that depend on forest or woodland, 48 (80%) were recorded in revegetation. Species richness of woodland birds was most strongly influenced by total amount of wooded cover in the landscape (either remnant vegetation or revegetation).
With increasing extent of revegetation, the number of woodland species increased, demonstrating that rural restoration does attract species back into the landscape.
We are now planning to re-sample these landscapes 12 years later (2018-19) to test hypotheses about changes in the value of revegetated landscapes through time.
- Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Revegetation and wildlife brochure