Building Koala Habitats in Gippsland!

May 28, 2021by Olivia - F&F

I’m sure we can all agree that the Koala is Australia’s most iconic animal! But recently, we’ve discovered that Koalas could become extinct by 2050 if nothing is done to save them. The thought of losing Australia’s sleepiest, cuddliest marsupial forever is unthinkable.

That’s why the legends at Greenfleet are growing brand new habitats for Koalas right across Australia.

Here at F&F, we love celebrating wins for our wildlife. So, let’s take a look at what Greenfleet is doing to protect our precious Koalas!

Threats to Koalas

Ongoing threats such as tree-clearing, bushfires, diseases, feral animals, and the impacts of climate change have decimated Australia’s Koala populations. This was extremely apparent during the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires of 2019-2020, where it was estimated that 61,000 Koalas had been killed, displaced or injured by the catastrophic fires.

According to the Wilderness Society, it’s estimated that 50 million native animals, including the iconic Koala, are being killed by land clearing in Queensland and NSW alone every year.

Tree-Clearing is Still Happening

Sadly, Koalas aren’t disappearing by accident. Their homes are being permanently destroyed to make way for beef production.

In Queensland, up to 300,000 hectares of bushland is destroyed every year, and around 90% of this tree-clearing is undertaken to create pasture for livestock.

As Koala habitats shrink and disappear, they’re often forced to leave their home in search of new territory — this means they’re more vulnerable to attacks from feral dogs and cats, as well as being hit by vehicles.

Greenfleet's Koala Habitats

You’ve probably heard of Greenfleet. The much-loved Aussie not-for-profit is committed to restoring ecosystems, offsetting carbon emissions, and providing permanent habitats for Australia’s native species.

Since 1997, they’ve planted 9.6 million trees, created 500+ native forests, and offset 3.5 million tonnes of CO2. Pretty amazing!

A big part of their reforestation agenda is to protect and repopulate the Koala. In Victoria's Gippsland, located on Boonwurrung Country, Greenfleet has been working hard to restore native forests.

Ness Creek

Ness Creek — a large property that had been cleared for cattle and sheep grazing in the early 20th century — is being reforested by Greenfleet. Since 2016, they’ve revegetated over 40 hectares of barren land with native trees, planted along the side of the creek, on the hills, and shelterbelts of the property.

So far, Greenfleet has planted over thirty native tree species, including Mountain Grey Gum, Hop Goodenia, and Swamp Paperbark. As they grow, these trees will become permanent homes for native Aussie species, like the Koala and the Sugar Glider!

Wurneet Laang Laang

Another nearby planting site, Wurneet Laang Laang, is already home to a certain population of Koalas.

In 2016, Greenfleet planted 50,000 native seedlings on the 66-hectare site, with thousands more being planted in 2019 and 2020.

You can imagine how excited the team at Greenfleet were when they discovered Koalas and other wildlife populating the forest after only a few years! Stzrezlecki Koalas, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, and Grey Fantails were just a few of the species found in the brand-new forest.

Benefits of Reforestation

The Ness Creek and Wurneet Laang Laang forests are protected for 100 years, which means they will continue to provide environmental benefits, like carbon sequestering, for generations to come. Over its lifetime, Wurneet Laang Laang will absorb nearly 92,000 tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to removing 21,300 cars from the road for a whole year!

These forests are also having a positive impact on nearby water sources. Overall water quality is improving, native reeds and ferns are growing back, and native frogs are repopulating in the rivers.

How to Support Greenfleet

Thankfully, the awesome people at Greenfleet will continue this fantastic work — not only for our precious Koalas, but also for the health of the planet.

But… they could definitely use our help! Their tree-planting projects across NSW, VIC and QLD need our financial support to continue. If you’d like to see more healthy forests in your region, more native wildlife, and more cuddly Koalas, then head to the Greenfleet website to donate!

Or, find out other ways you can get involved Get involved with Greenfleet.

We love positive eco news like this! If you’d like to read more about awesome conservation efforts across Australia, head to The Eco Hub for more.

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