Koalas feed almost exclusively on a few preferred tree species which are of primary and secondary importance. If primary tree food species are not present or occur in low density, koalas must rely on secondary food tree species, but the number of animals per hectare is lower. The occurrence of both primary and secondary tree species varies widely on a regional, local and even a seasonal basis, meaning that koalas are unevenly distributed across their range.
Although primary and secondary food trees provide most of a koala's diet, other tree species, including non-eucalypts, also provide seasonal or supplementary food.
Koalas also require a range of other trees across their habitat for resting and shelter, particularly in extreme weather conditions. Examples of shelter trees include turpentine, cypress pine and brush box.
Koala management areas
The NSW koala recovery plan (2008) identifies seven koala management areas (KMAs). These areas enable the status and recovery of koalas to be monitored regionally.
The KMAs are based on:
- landscape characteristics, particularly the geographic distribution of primary or secondary food tree species
- administrative boundaries for ease of natural resource management.
The recovery plan provides a list of koala food trees categorised as primary, secondary and supplementary for each KMA.
Within each KMA:
- habitat characteristics and threats are relatively consistent, although there are a number of local variations
- koala populations can be monitored to assess and manage short-term management issues critical for conserving koalas throughout NSW.
The main koala food trees in the seven management areas
Protection of native animals
All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, but not including dingoes, are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.