Over the past decade, Berry Bush Links, a partnership led by Berry Landcare, has brought together landholders, researchers and other community members to reconnect the NSW South Coast’s isolated forests to create a corridor for animals moving between the coast and the ranges.
The scenic Berry district, which lies in GER’s Illawarra to Shoalhaven partnership region, contains many remnant patches of native vegetation which provide a range of habitats for the region’s diverse wild residents. These include an endangered population of greater gliders and a host of other threatened and unique animal species such as powerful owls, green and golden bell frogs, and fishing bats.
Forests across many of Berry’s lowland slopes and flats, however, have been cleared to make way for pastures with few or no trees left in place. These cleared areas block the movement of native wildlife leaving them more vulnerable to changing climatic conditions and local extinction.
Through Berry Bush Links more than 200 people were involved in helping to create vital links between these forest patches. These included close to 80 private landholders and public managers and a massive 23,000 hours of effort contributed by volunteers. As well as reconnecting and regenerating native habitats to create wildlife corridors through the planting of over 12,000 tube stock and pest and weed management, landholders were engaged through a series of capacity building workshops, forums and field visits.
Berry Bush Links was funded through the NSW Government’s Bush Connect program which was run to support conservation activities in the Great Eastern Ranges corridor.