June 05, 2023

Connecting from Port to Plateau

The gang-gang cockatoo is one of the key species that relies on habitat in the Port Macquarie to Comboyne Plateau region. Photo © Wikimedia | Benjamint444

GER is supporting the creation of a new connectivity conservation initiative that will help plug a key gap in the Great Eastern Ranges in NSW.

Port to Plateau, spearheaded by local Landcare groups, will provide a corridor for wildlife that links the coastal Port Macquarie region with the Comboyne Plateau. This highly diverse landscape, which transitions from eucalypt woodlands to subtropical rainforest, provides an important altitudinal connection for animals moving between the lowland and the ranges.

A rich diversity of species rely on these habitats, including one of NSW’s largest koala populations, along with feathertail gliders, gang-gang cockatoos, grey-headed flying foxes and an array of other wildlife.

To support the emergence of a new alliance to drive Port to Plateau, GER facilitated a symposium in Port Macquarie hosted by researchers at Charles Sturt University on 28 April, which bought together over 40 land managers and agencies interested in being involved.

The symposium in Port Macquarie brought together over 40 land managers and agencies interested in being involved in Port to Plateau.

Participants included representatives from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Dunghutti Local Aboriginal Land Council, Hastings Bird Watchers, Hastings and Macleay Landcare Groups, NSW Forestry Corporation, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Mid Coast Council and Kempsey Shire Council.

“The forum was a coming together of like-minded organisations and landholders with a concern for maintaining biodiversity in this diverse and rich landscape,” said Gary Howling, CEO of Great Eastern Ranges.

“The power that lies in events like these is that it enables people to better understand their work relative to that of others in the region. This enables them to spark off each other, create stronger connections and get a better understanding of the importance of the work they do and how that can combine to create value that is greater than the sum of its parts. That is what the Great Eastern Ranges is all about.”

Port to Plateau will also serve to fill an important gap in collaboration and connectivity between GER’s existing regional partnerships, the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance and Hunter Valley.

A working group was established at the event with the aim of holding a follow-up forum at which participants will learn more about connectivity conservation, map the actions and events that already support the effort, and develop a vision for the Port to Plateau region.

“We are pleased to be involved with helping to establish this initiative to protect and regenerate a critical connection in the Great Eastern Ranges that we have had our eye on for a long time. It is wonderful to see it start to spring to life,” said Gary.

“Port to Plateau will not only help to ease the pressure on fire impacted wildlife but will build the health and resilience of local communities and the natural services upon which they depend.”

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