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Carving it up for conservation campaign sets standard for habitat conservation

PENRITH residents will get the chance to witness a live demonstration of an innovative new approach to habitat conservation today.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services has joined forces with Penrith City Council and Sydney Arbor Trees to showcase a new chainsaw technique creating tree hollows to house native wildlife.

The technique has been exhibited through Western Sydney over the past few months with Penrith the final destination for what has been a hugely successful campaign.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services officer Jenny Schabel said the campaign was about raising awareness on the importance of tree hollows for wildlife on the Cumberland Plain.

“The interest shown by land managers and local communities at each of our events has been incredible, we have seen hundreds of people engaged and educated on the importance of preserving tree hollows for wildlife,” she said.

“The high rate of population growth in the region has resulted in significant habitat destruction for native wildlife, we want to show people rather than cutting dead or dying trees down we can create homes for native animals including many endangered species.”

Ms Schabel said the campaign had been the first of its kind in Western Sydney and forms part of a greater vision for the region.

“We have already seen this approach picked up in other regions across NSW and are looking at future opportunities to encourage, promote and implement hollow preservation, the potential is definitely there and at this stage we have only just scratched the surface,” she said.

Arborist Michael Sullings will perform the demonstration and said dead and decaying wood is a food source for insects and other invertebrates which are an important food source for reptiles, mammals and birds.

“Alive or dead, trees containing hollows are habitat for all manner of organisms,” he said. “It is time for us to rethink our approach, not all trees are hazardous. We would encourage people in the community in the process of having a dead or hazardous tree removed from their yards to consider this approach.”

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said she was delighted in the preservation of trees, living or dead, to provide a habitat for native species.

“Native species including birds, possums and gliders will benefit from the initiative and complements other environmental work being carried out in Werrington Parkland, including weed control and tree planting,” Cr McKeown said.

“We need to be mindful in providing native animals a safe place in our suburbs as we encroach on their natural habitats.”

Background facts:

It is estimated that 15 per cent of Australian vertebrate species use natural tree hollows for nesting, raising young and housing. In NSW alone, more than 150 species of wildlife are what’s known as obligate hollow users. Around 40 of these species are listed as vulnerable or endangered.

ENDS Media contact: Nikki McGrath (02) 4724 2138 M: 0448 953 755