*Koala Habitat Connectivity Modelling: Kiwarrak ARKS

MidCoast Council
MidCoast, NSW

The Kiwarrak Area of Regional Koala Significance (ARKS) was heavily impacted by the 2019 - 2020 bushfire season with post-fire surveys of koala activity indicating substantive losses of koalas across this area and measurable impacts to habitat (WWF funded project - Biolink 2020). MidCoast Council was successful in securing a Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and Habitat Grant to support the recovery of their resident koala population and Biolink has subsequently been engaged by Council to model koala habitat connectivity in this region, including the evaluation of revegetation scenarios. Outcomes from this project will help to identify the existing habitat corridors which require protection and those requiring reconstruction / enhancement through revegetation. Building on fine-scale vegetation mapping of the unburnt section of the Kiwarrak ARKS, in combination with other spatial data incorporating the 'cost' to the movement of koalas across a range of land use categories, we will use the GAPCLoSR framework to identify habitat patches and least-cost dispersal pathways for koalas, including a score for prioritising the connectivity contribution of all patches and pathways. The results of this project will be posted as they come to hand.