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Habitat Trees

Some of the trees at Ginninderry are over 100 years old and many are even older than European settlement! Once lost, these trees cannot be readily replaced.

From an ecological perspective, a lack of variety in tree age can have serious consequences for the broader ecosystem and over 2500 new trees as well as 62,000 shrubs have been planted throughout Strathnairn.

Native birds thrive in habitats with a variety of shrubs and trees, this is particularly the case for small, native birds, who are often deprived of habitat in urban environments. For this reason we ask that you take care around bushland and revegetation areas so as not to disturb little bird’s homes. If you see a native bird’s nest make sure you leave it where it is and ensure the area is avoided in future. You can also record sightings of rarer birds on the Canberra Nature Map and participate in the protection of our ecosystem.

Researchers from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University are looking at how councils and urban developments can not only keep many of their old, mature trees, but also provide new growth, habitat and support for these trees over their lifetime and beyond. There are three tree treatments being examined within Strathnairn.


You can play a part in this research!

  • Avoid walking through the habitat areas, identifiable by its boulders, shrubs and logs.
  • Leave logs and branches in place (do not take for firewood!) as these provide crucial habitat to small, native animals and birds.
  • If you see any animals or distinguishable plants you can record these on the Canberra Nature Map and play your part in helping to preserve our precious ecosystem.
  • Take care around newly planted trees and shrubs.

There’s an App for that!

Use Canberra Nature Map to record sightings of rare birds and animals and unusual plants.

To Help you identify the different treatments:

Treatment 1: The Ol’ Canberra mow

This treatment is the ‘bog standard’ typical approach to keeping mature trees. Grass is planted under the tree and mown several times a year by an ACT Government contractor. Hazardous branches are trimmed and those that fall are removed. Noxious weeds are often sprayed and there are no new plantings of native trees in the area.

Treatment 2: Mulching and mass planting

Each mature tree is mulched under its dripline (the area which extends to the edge of the tree canopy – like the area under an open umbrella). The mulched area is then surrounded by shrub plantings and smaller groundcovers, creating vitally important habitats for small birds. New Eucalyptus seedlings are planted to (eventually!) become the next cohort of mature trees.

Fallen branches are left in place, and new logs introduced to provide habitat for insects, lizards and birds. These logs also create great places to sit and to play.

Treatment 3: Restoring native grasslands

This treatment is designed to restore the critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland. It involves planting native grasses and wildflowers within the urban open space. Shrubs are also planted to provide habitats for small birds, and new Eucalyptus seedlings are introduced to replace mature trees on the site. Fallen branches from the trees are also left in place, as in treatment two, and new logs are introduced to create woody habitats.

The purpose of this research is to develop a better method for protecting and restoring mature trees in urban developments. The researchers, along with the Ginninderry team, hope to show that these treatments also cost less to maintain, provide a much better diversity of birds, insects and other animals and become spaces which are adopted by the community for recreation, education and research.

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