School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology

Conservation and restoration (native invertebrates, planted corridors)

Campus: Mt Helen

Discipline: Environmental science

Supervisor(s): Dr Penelope Greenslade (p.greenslade@federation.edu.au) and Dr S. Florentine (s.florentine@federation.edu.au)

Project title

To what extent do planted corridors and windbreaks on farms contribute to habitat for native invertebrate wildlife?

Project description

  1. Aims: To measure the success of natural and planted vegetated corridors and windbreaks carrying different plant species and with or without superphosphate in providing habitat for native invertebrate fauna on farms in Central Victoria. The work involves sampling invertebrates on a variety of existing sites covering several farms, identifying the animals collected and classifying them as to their conservation value. A focus will be on native predators and decomposer invertebrates, groups that provide economic and conservation benefits. An honours student will be trained for this project and some volunteers encouraged to be involved. The results will be communicated to local land managers with suggestions as to how to make small changes in farm management to increase the conservation and economic value of their properties.
  2. Significance This project is being undertaken at the request of a local conservation farmer in the Lake Burrumbeet area of Western Victoria (Susan Moodie) and will involve local environment groups. Farmers in the study area have a range of attitudes to farming for conservation benefit. Several are strongly supportive, others less so. The overall aim is to encourage those less supportive to change their practices by illustrating, with evidence, examples of practices which are economically beneficial through enhancement of native invertebrate predators, pollinators and decomposing organisms. This is an opportunity to provide information to farmers and graziers of the effect on native invertebrate wildlife of different types of planted windbreaks and to be encouraged to incorporate in future plantings appropriate habitat for this fauna. This project aims to collect data to illustrate how native wildlife can provide economic benefits on cropping land and to pastures by providing habitats for instance, of potential invertebrate predators of pests on crops. The wider significance is to communicate to landowners in the wider region to work together for improvements in conservation management and help them understand the benefits to them as a result.