Partnering with Birdlife Australia for Species Monitoring
The Forestry Investment Trust (FIT), a eucalyptus plantation estate of 260,000 hectares located across Australia, is committed to long-term biodiversity monitoring and conservation.
Since 2015, PF Olsen Australia, FIT’s property manager, has partnered with Birdlife Australia to track the number of bird species present on the properties.
The objective of this partnership is to develop objective data to ensure that the management estate maintains or enhances bird diversity across the estate. Five years of data in Victoria and three years in Western Australia has found that hardwood plantations are important refuges for wildlife in fragmented landscapes.
Professional and amateur observers survey three types of forests: plantation sites, remnant habitat patches in plantations, and control sites in a nearby national park.
The surveys indicate that FIT’s native vegetation remnants have similar numbers of birds with a greater diversity of endemic (locally specific) birds than paired sites in adjacent national parks and state forests and that biodiversity is being maintained. Plantation areas have fewer birds and less birdlife diversity; however, for some species they are providing important habitat. In aggregate, the mosaic of land cover types including plantation and remnant vegetation provides habitat for a greater variety of bird species. Since the start of the study, more than 100 bird species have been observed in Victoria and 71 species in Western Australia. In 2020 FIT agreed to extend the study for an additional five years.