Koala Science

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Survey Points South Coast-click map to access
Tree Index-click map to access
Habitat Suitability-click map to access
The team on site during plot survey July 2020
Koala mother and baby

Grant money awarded to Coastwatchers

Read article on grants award here

Red ironbark and spotted gum at Jingara Farm, Mogendoura 3.5 months after the fire

Wires funded Drone used to gather images

Lyrebird in recovering forest 6th March 2020. Photo courtesy Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness.

EKP are involved in supporting the latest science in relation to koalas and their habitat.

What we do;

Our volunteer team:

  • conducts ongoing citizen science projects, such as the East Lynne Carrying Capacity Study 2021 and the Review of Habitat Significance of Bodalla State Forest 2021
  • uses the free software QGIS to map local koala habitat suitability, tree indices, vegetation types, topography, geology, soil and watercourses
  • conducts habitat plot surveys on private properties, helping landholders understand their property’s contribution to the wider koala habitat landscape, adding to the EKP’s database, adding to the NSW Government’s database and ground-truthing wider-scale habitat modelling
  • monitors emerging local knowledge
  • monitors emerging contemporary research

Plot surveys

Plot Survey Map
This is the full plot points map, as of December 2021, of all the koala habitat surveys done by our volunteers since the Eurobodalla Koala Project began fieldwork in 2012.

Datasheets relating to our 2020-2021 plot surveys can be found using this link 2020-2021PlotSurveys

Our citizen science publications

The Eurobodalla Koala Project Pilot Study 2013 is available at this link EKP Pilot Study

The pilot study:

  • established a theoretical base for our citizen science approach
  • provided a comprehensive literature search and reference list
  • explored Eurobodalla koala history
  • tested a model of analysis
  • modeled Shire-wide potential habitat

The Bendethera Report 2013 is available at this link The Bendethera Report

The Bendethera expedition:

  • tested a comprehensive set of habitat factors used for our research
  • drew a conclusion about the habitat suitability of the Bendethera location

The Wamban-Nerrigundah Report 2020 is highlighted elsewhere on this website, and available through this link Wamban Nerrigundah Report

This Commonwealth-funded study:

  • confirmed the Wamban-Nerrigundah patch as a potential low-density breeding corridor between two places of local koala historical significance
  • gave special attention to the impact of the 2019-2020 wildfire on local koala habitat
  • updated our knowledge and techniques
  • produced a large repository of data, accessible to this website’s users

The Revised Eurobodalla Koala Recovery Strategy 2021 is also highlighted elsewhere on our website, and available through this link

The Revised Recovery Strategy:

  • updates the previous 2013 version
  • provides principles, practical actions and resources for all community sectors to engage in local koala recovery
  • sets the stage for our next few years of work

The Koala Carrying Capacity Study of the East Lynne Area 2021 is now available at this link LINK

​The East Lynne Carrying Capacity Study:

  • used GIS mapping, analysed Forestry Corporation NSW Harvest Plans and EKP plot survey data from private properties, examined Murramarang National Park information, and took advice from local landholders
  • concluded the area could support up to four resident koala groups as a best-case scenario, if natural post-wildfire recovery is accompanied by deliberate land management intervention

The Review of Koala Habitat Suitability of Bodalla State Forest 2021 is now available at this link .

  • The Review argues Bodalla State Forest, where a sighting was reported in October 2021, must be a priority focus for any Eurobodalla-wide koala population revival.
  • With its remnant habitat and history of koala presence, the forest is a viable location for home ranges of about 350 hectares each. 
  • Bodalla State Forest is also needed as a breeding connector for a sustaining regional koala metapopulation.
  • The review lists challenges for land managers in and near Bodalla State Forest if local koalas are to revive. Threats to address are landscape drying, further severe wildfire impacts, atmospheric carbon dioxide affecting leaf nutrients, degraded soils, dieback, historical clearing of the Tuross River lowlands, over-intensive logging and new clearing for urban development.
  • Between 2022 and 2024, the Coastwatchers Great Eastern Ranges Project (see below) hopes to make a start by helping adjacent private property owners survey and rehabilitate their spaces.

What next?

Our next citizen science priority is a community-based survey to check for post-fire koala recovery. This survey will have a 3 to 10-year timeframe. It is intended to operate alongside implementation of the Recovery Strategy.  At the end of the survey period, we will know whether the Eurobodalla’s wild koalas (and their sustaining metapopulation) have returned or not.

In the meantime, private property habitat surveys will continue and, if time permits, an analysis of the suitability of the Forestry Corporation NSW Formal and Informal Reserve System will be undertaken.

For the years 2022 to 2024, the volunteer Eurobodalla Koala Project is integrating with the Great Eastern Ranges WWF “Cores, Corridors and Koalas” South Coast Project (Eurobodalla – lower Shoalhaven), jointly hosted by the Coastwatchers Association Inc.

Under contract with Great Eastern Ranges (GER), resourced by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Coastwatchers is delivering multiple on-ground works including revegetation plantings for wildlife connectivity and a strategic wildlife survey. This is supplemented by the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF), a Commonwealth and State resourced initiative called “Restoring Country and Communities” administered by NSW Regional Services.

Useful links

Australian National University – Search “ANU Koala Research” Link to search page

University of Sydney Koala Health Hub link to hub

Koala Clancy Foundation link to foundation

New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water link to NSW ECCW

Map of steepness overlaid on modelled potential habitat quality (South Eastern Eurobodalla)

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