GER Glideways is a suite of collaborative projects aimed at conserving gliding possums and their habitat through targeted and complementary projects in strategic locations across the Great Eastern Ranges.
The Great Eastern Ranges is home to all the species of gliding possum found in Australia from the diminutive Feathertail Glider which weighs in at only 10-15 grams through to the cat-sized Greater Glider. Gliding possums are marsupials which have a thin sheet of skin stretching from their forepaws to their ankles. This ‘gliding membrane’ allows them to glide from tree to tree, with species such as the yellow-bellied glider, able to cover significant distances of up to 140 meters in a single leap. Gliders are dependent on mature forests with lots of tree hollows to nest in. Sadly, these are the very forests that are being lost and fragmented at a rapid rate in Australia placing us at risk of losing these unique, iconic marsupials forever.
In turn, many other species live within the same area as gliders including many threatened and endemic ones like the Koala, Flame Robin and Spotted-tailed Quoll. Their conservation and habitat requirements closely align with those of gliders and the broader needs of their local environment. These include, sufficient habitat free from pests and weeds, ongoing community involvement in management efforts, and population monitoring. This means that by meeting the needs of gliders we are also supporting the other plants and animals that share their home.
Through a diversity of collaborative efforts and projects with local communities and landholders in strategic locations across the Great Eastern Ranges, Glideways is working to ensure that our glider populations persist and thrive into the future. Glideways projects being run by our partners include:
- Creation of habitat: Habitat loss and fragmentation are the primary reason for the decline of gliders in the Great Eastern Ranges. By working with local communities and government to revegetate land in strategic areas and install nestboxes, we provide new homes for gliders and other hollow tree residents and increase the availability of food.
- Protection of habitat: We encourage landholders to protect glider habitat on their properties through conservation agreements and our grants program. Connections between these areas can then be supplemented with tree and infill plantings to significantly increase the overall habitat area available for gliders and allowing populations to expand and move into new areas.
- Weed and feral animal management: There are several species of pests and weeds that pose a major threat to gliders – feral predators such as foxes and cats prey on gliders, rabbits and goats compete for food, whilst weeds impact the overall health of their habitat. By working with landholders and local government on strategic, cross tenure control programs we reduce the impact of introduced species and improve the health of our land.
- Research and monitoring: Our research and monitoring programs, which include genetic sampling and monitoring of revegetation sites, help to improve management of glider populations and assist us to gauge the effectiveness of onground works.
- Education: Through workshops with landholders and local communities, and school information days we increase awareness of the area’s biodiversity and build the capacity of locals to respond and manage threats to their land.
- Community engagement: GER and its partners run several events and citizen science programs every year, to inform local communities and provide opportunities for people to get involved directly in the conservation of gliders.