A practical solution for habitat creation.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine recently that made me think. We talked about the loss of habitat in the Australian environment and what could be done to support species under pressure. We talked about the obvious solutions – less deforestation and more planting of trees. We agreed that solutions aimed at addressing the problem were often complicated, time contingent and politically charged. We agreed that one of the most important requirements for many of our native species is the availability of tree hollows in which to reproduce, take refuge and to shelter within during the day.
More than 300 species use tree hollows in Australia. With natural hollows formed by the process of natural decay and failure within a tree, it can take more than 120 years for one of these hollows to form. Dead and dying trees are often removed from the landscape; as are trees that are yet to reach the age required to develop these suitable hollows. What if we could bypass this long drawn out natural process and actually create tree hollows now in some of our existing trees in parks and gardens?
Well, we can and they are not nestboxes attached to the sides of trees. Arborists (Tree Surgeons) have figured out how to create artificial hollows within the live tree itself which has the potential to revolutionise our way of thinking and reverse the devastating effect limited hollow availability has on species distribution and abundance in our landscape. Creating artificial hollows that look (and are) real provide better camoflague for animals, generate more natural microclimate conditions and are cheaper and more permanent than nestboxes. These artificial hollows can be created within just about any tree and developed for just about any target animal species. Let me give you a pictographic tutorial on how it’s done.
Method 1 – Trunk hollows
The procedure for making habitat hollows in vertical tree stumps is as follows:
Method 2 – Branch Hollows
The procedure for creating hollows in tree branches is as follows:
I think that this is an easy, creative and practical solution to provide more habitat for our native species. These methods can be applied to street and amenity trees, trees in parks and gardens, on farms, in private residences and in state forest and national parks.
What do you think?
More information can be obtained from the Victorian Tree Industry Association website – http://vtio.org.au/
All images and information sourced from – http://vtio.org.au/Content/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Vtio_Habitat_Paper_SEPT_2010.pdf