Every year, tens of millions of birds, bats, butterflies and moths in Australia embark on epic journeys that traverse vast distances across the continent and beyond. The arrival of the wet season in the Top End regularly carries dragonflies from the Asian sub-continent as far as the southern states, while the dry seasons in between trigger the migration of tropical birds and butterflies across the Torres Strait to New Guinea and the Indonesian archipelago.
Maintaining landscape connectivity for our winged wildlife means ensuring that sufficient habitat remains across each species’ wider range so that they can access food throughout the year and as they move in response to changing seasons.
Research by GER and Birdlife Australia has indicated that a number of ‘flyways’ (migratory routes) exist along the length of the Great Eastern Ranges that are routinely followed by birds in seasonal north-south migrations. An archipelago of protected areas along the ranges act to conserve core habitat areas as part of this continental flyway, however critical pinch-points and gaps exist, threatening their effectiveness in supporting highly mobile wildlife. The threat of continued, unsustainable habitat loss in these areas without landscape-scale efforts to restore core habitats and transit routes has the potential to seriously erode the health and values of Australia’s great eastern flyway.
Flyways employs a big picture approach to the challenge, using various tools and approaches to bring together traditional habitat restoration techniques in an innovative way that restores these important migratory and movement pathways at the continental scale.
GER and its partners have identified priority landscapes where a targeted and long-term approach to conservation is needed to:
- Increase community awareness of the value of our animal pollinators and the role of the Great Eastern Ranges as a natural flyway that supports the migration of wildlife across eastern Australia.
- Build a network of public and private landholders and land managers working across land tenures to restore and protect the gaps between core parches of habitats to support the migration of wildlife into the future.
- Restore and protect essential habitat needed to sustain migrating animals in targeted landscapes, while also supporting local species that remain in the area throughout the year.