ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Connectivity analyses for Slopes to Summit project (2016-2020)

Funding

Holbrook Landcare and NSW Environmental Trust (Bush Connects), $30,000

Strategic Research Area

Biodiversity Conservation

Researchers/Investigators

Dr Peter Spooner and Simon McDonald

Description

CSU, as collaborators in Holbrook Landcare Network's Slopes to Summit Bush Connect project (2016-2020) which has received nearly $500,000 in funding from the NSW Environment Trust, are leading up the research and connectivity analyses support for that project.

The principal aim of the project is to increase connectivity in two specific study areas in the Slopes to Summit (S2S) area – between Woomargama National Park and Table Top Nature Reserve/Benambra National Park; and north of Holbrook, straddling Billabong Creek. Both areas are mostly private land, with much of the vegetation endangered grassy box woodlands. Holbrook Landcare will use its Bush Connect funding to develop projects for these properties in coming years with an aim to increase connectivity in these fragmented landscapes.

The CSU component of the project has three stages:

  1. Conduct a connectivity analysis for the existing landscape  (which has been completed)
  2. A second phase of analysis after Holbrook Landcare has made its decisions on where to place on-ground works based on its threat and opportunity analysis
  3. At the conclusion of the project, evaluate improvements in connectivity and conduct further analysis to predict the long term outcomes of the project

Dr Peter Spooner, together with CSU's Spatial Analysis Officer Simon McDonald,conducted an innovative Circuitscape connectivity analysis using GIS tools. This is helping Holbrook Landcare plan and design its on-ground restoration works to meet the aims of the major project. It is anticipated future Honours students will ground-truth the connectivity modelling results.

Outcomes

As a result of the project the researchers are expecting to:

  • Have a better understanding of how species use fragmented, modified rural landscapes
  • Develop a landscape model to simulate different degrees of resistence to animal movement
  • Use their learnings to inform similar connectivity conservation programs that are occurring throughout Australia and worldwide.

Contact

Dr Peter Spooner

Campus -Albury-Wodonga

Email

April 2017