Bushland and biodiversity
We have many areas of natural habitat that provide important refuges for indigenous plants and animals.
Clearing for agriculture and urbanisation has meant that these natural wildlife corridors have been fragmented, restricting species range, and reducing genetic flow.
Our Bushland Management Unit (BMU) works to create and maintain natural wildlife corridors along the Yarra and Plenty rivers and the Darebin Creek. They connect patches of habitat and give indigenous plants and animals a greater chance of survival.
To improve knowledge and appreciation of our biodiversity – and to do your share for climate action – we offer the community programs that connect people to local bushlands, parks and reserves in an engaging, educational and social way. Help us conserve these natural habitats.
You can attend experience-based workshops on indigenous vegetation, building nest boxes for local fauna, hand-weeding, litter removal and join spotlight night-walks. Events are run by the BMU with friends of groups, and are a great way learn more about our bushlands and connect with like-minded people.
Find a friends of group
Explore 300-plus hectares of bushland reserves
The VICFLORA database provides illustrated plant profiles and identification tools to help you.
The BMU plays an integral role in protecting our biodiversity:
- Remnant: untouched since European settlement;
- Regeneration: rehabilitated from naturally occurring seed stock; and
- Revegetation: actively planted and restored.
The main threats to our biodiversity are:
- competition from weeds
- habitat fragmentation through urbanisation
- human created waste and rubbish
- predation by and competition from pest animals
- climate change.
The BMU mitigates threats by controlling and removing weeds, planting locally indigenous vegetation, removing litter and dumped waste from bushland areas, and monitoring and controlling pest fauna populations. These actions help to increase biodiversity, which enhances the ability of ecosystems to adapt to climate change.
Biodiversity Plan 2019-2022
Banyule's Native Fauna poster
Banyule's Indigenous Flora poster
Banyule's Wetlands, Waterways and Wildlife Corridors poster(PDF, 3MB)
Why do we remove healthy trees from reserves?
Introduced trees and shrubs can become weedy as seeds are carried and dispersed by wildlife. As the majority of wildlife populations resides along our river systems and green corridors, weeds have the potential to spread quickly.
The tree canopy contains much of our ecosystem’s habitat. Small weedy patches are removed, leaving much of the canopy intact, and with indigenous species planted in the cleared area to revegetate. New plants are allowed to establish before the next section of woody weeds are removed. Over time, this results in the reestablishment of locally indigenous trees and the eradication of introduced trees. Local wildlife populations are not negatively affected by this canopy removal process.
Why do we conduct controlled burns?
Fire is crucial to keep many of Australia’s ecosystems healthy, and is a huge contributor to rich biodiversity. The Wurundjeri and other indigenous mobs used fire as a tool to manage the land. The chemical properties in smoke encourage some dormant indigenous seeds to germinate in the soil and some eucalypt species to open their seed pods. Fire also burns away leaf litter and old thatch from vegetation, leaving open patches for indigenous seeds to germinate. This can become a problem when the seed bank has become weed infested.
We use spot burning for weed control in sites where hand-weeding and herbicide spraying are not appropriate. Weedy annual grasses have small root systems as they concentrate all their energy into foliage growth. This makes it easier to control patches over a couple of years of follow-up burning.
Burning at different times of year helps to achieve different outcomes: cool burns throughout winter and spring can be used for weed control, whereas hot burns at the beginning of autumn are often used for thatch removal and species rejuvenation.
What are the boxes hanging in trees for?
Many old growth trees were felled at European settlement, and there are not many left old enough to have formed large hollows. Small hollows suitable for sugar gliders and small birds take around 100 years to form, while large hollows required for possums and large birds can take up to 300. In the absence of required habitat, we help volunteer groups to construct nest boxes for a range of species. Boxes have been installed in reserves where there is a lack of old growth trees. This helps in the movement of species throughout our wildlife corridors, and provide shelter from the elements, predators and a safe breeding places.