Habitat boost for Northern Rivers koalas

Private landholders are being supported to restore 200 hectares of koala habitat in the Northern Rivers through a new initiative that is planting 250,000 tree seedlings, backed by the NSW Koala Strategy.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) in a tree

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the landmark program is restoring koala habitat on private land, increasing biodiversity and providing an additional revenue stream for landholders through carbon farming.

"We know that more than 50% of koala habitat is on private land in New South Wales, which is why private landholders are a big part of the solution when it comes to conserving and protecting koalas," Mr Griffin said.

"Through the Koala Friendly Carbon Farming Project, we're helping landholders plant hundreds of thousands of koala food and shelter trees to restore koala habitat and create corridors for them to move safely through areas.

"Landholders will be able to diversify their income through carbon farming, while creating new habitat for koalas and other native species on their properties.

"This is part of our NSW Koala Strategy, which delivers the biggest commitment by any government to a single species in Australia, and it will help us reach our target of doubling the number of koalas in New South Wales by 2050."

The NSW Government is working in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, and Climate Friendly to deliver the project.

The project is working to kick-start carbon farming in koala habitats by developing carbon farming projects that deliver Australian Carbon Credit Units.

WWF-Australia Landscape Restoration Project Manager Tanya Pritchard said the project is addressing some of the major threats facing koalas.

"We can't turn around the decline of east coast koalas without bold actions to tackle habitat loss and fragmentation," Ms Pritchard said.

"This project provides incentives for landowners to be part of the solution and will help us to restore and connect large areas of koala habitat."

Climate Friendly Co-CEO Skye Glenday said the initiative demonstrates how rural land managers can sustainably manage their environment while benefiting native species.

"Our partnership with landowners, WWF-Australia and the NSW Government will replenish important feeding and safe living areas for koalas and potentially attract other wildlife such as greater gliders, while building biodiversity and flood impact mitigation," Ms Glenday said.

"The new trees will also provide benefits in capturing carbon to help Australia meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets."

The NSW Koala Strategy is backed by more than $190 million and delivers a range of targeted conservation actions to secure more habitat, support community conservation, address threats to koala safety and health, and utilise science and research to build our knowledge.

Landholders can apply for a property assessment to determine if there are koalas close by and if their land is suitable.

For more information, visit NSW Koala Strategy.