Building knowledge on koala habitat

Improving our knowledge about where koalas live, their numbers, and the habitat they prefer will help inform how we can protect these iconic animals.

As part of the NSW Koala Strategy, we have developed the first statewide Koala Habitat Information Base. It delivers the best available statewide spatial data on koala habitat, likelihood, koala preferred trees and koala sightings for New South Wales.

The database is an important resource that will support government agencies, local councils, private landholders and the community make informed decisions about koala conservation.

The information base will help:

  • ensure local actions are based on the best available information
  • provide information on koala locations and habitat corridors
  • identify which trees to select for koala habitat restoration
  • local conservation efforts, such as improving the management of threats and diseases
  • inform reserve acquisition or private land conservation agreements
  • inform the development of future policy to protect koalas.

Data from the Koala Habitat Information Base, combined with fire intensity maps developed in collaboration with the NSW Rural Fire Service, can also assist the work of government agencies and volunteers in looking for injured koalas in areas affected by bushfires.

The Koala Habitat Information Base is not a regulatory instrument, meaning that the data layers do not categorise land for regulatory purposes.

Data layers included in the information base

The Koala Habitat Information Base is made up of several layers of spatial information. These include:

  • the Koala Habitat Suitability Model – predicts the probability of finding koala habitat at any location
  • the Koala Tree Suitability Index – indicates the probability of finding a tree species that koalas are known to use for food or shelter
  • Koala Likelihood Map and Koala Likelihood Confidence Map – predicts the likelihood of finding a koala at a location
  • areas of regional koala significance (ARKS) – identify regions mapped as having key koala populations with potential for long-term viability
  • native vegetation of New South Wales – this high-resolution map shows the extent of native tree cover and water bodies across New South Wales
  • koala sightings recorded in NSW BioNet.

NSW Koala Habitat Information Base webinar

This webinar explains each data layer and how the data was collected.