Revegetating Koala Habitat - Northern Tablelands Koala Management Area

This fact sheet provides information on koala populations that live within this cleared and fragmented region and how habitat revegetation can help support these isolated populations.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Low-density koala populations are scattered throughout the highly fragmented and cleared Northern Tablelands Koala Management Area (KMA 4).

The distribution of koalas in this area is poorly understood. They are found in a range of habitat types including small woodland and forest remnants, paddock trees within fertile agricultural areas, and more rugged woodlands and forests.

Map of Northern Tablelands Koala Management Area.

Image: Map showing the extent of the Northern Tablelands Koala Management Area (KMA),
with national parks, state forests, major waterways and roads.

Threats

Koalas and koala habitat in KMA 4 are threatened by:

  • lack of knowledge about this low-density population and its threatening processes
  • continued habitat clearing and fragmentation due to rural residential development
  • climate change, drought and heatwaves
  • bushfires causing koala injury and death, and temporarily eliminating food sources
  • possible future influx of koalas from the larger populations to the west, as their habitat range shrinks due to climate change, increasing competition for limited resources
  • vehicle strike and domestic dog attack
  • disease, particularly chlamydia.

Restoration of habitat

Habitat restoration aims to reduce threats to koalas, increase habitat and help conserve koala populations.

Read our Koala habitat revegetation guidelines for evidence-based recommendations and best-practice methods for restoring koala habitat.

Plant spacing can vary depending on the vegetation community you aim to establish (e.g. open woodland, open forest). Trees should be planted far enough apart to have good tree form or lateral branches and to allow enough light through for native grasses, shrubs and ferns to thrive.

Some tips for planting:

  • plant trees 8–10 metres apart (150 trees/hectare)
  • tree spacing closer than 8 meters should be avoided to ensure shade-intolerant understorey plants can thrive and provide habitat for other animals
  • plant shrubs 3–5 metres apart (400–625 shrubs/hectare), depending on the size of shrubs
  • spacing for groundcover varies and can be anywhere from 1 to 6 plants per square metre
  • density of trees and shrubs can vary from 400 to 1000 per hectare
  • plant near waterways in drier areas if possible.

Koalas use a broad range of tree species for food, shelter, rest and socialising.

Koalas usually feed within trees of the Eucalyptus genus, but they use many non-eucalypt species for shelter and sometimes feed on trees from genera such as:

  • Lophostemon – swamp box, swamp turpentine
  • Melaleuca – paperbark/tea tree
  • Acacia – wattle
  • Allocasuarina – she oak
  • Callitris – conifer/cypress.

We recommend you plant a range of high-, significant- and occasional-use tree species from our recommended tree species list.

Not all species will be relevant for all sites.

When you choose trees to plant, consider whether:

  • species are locally native
  • species are suitable for your site in terms of landscape position, such as near a creek, on a slope or ridge
  • you have chosen a mix of species that koalas will use for food, shelter and social activities
  • you have included shrubs and groundcover species as well as tree species.

Tree species lists

These tree lists contain recommended tree species for koala habitat within KMA 4. The lists align with local government areas located within this KMA:

Northern Tablelands

  • Armidale Regional
  • Glen Innes Severn
  • Tamworth Regional
  • Tenterfield
  • Uralla
  • Walcha

Northwest Slopes

  • Inverell
  • Liverpool Plains
Common name Species name
High preferred use
Wattle-leaved peppermint Eucalyptus acaciiformis
White box Eucalyptus albens
Grey gum Eucalyptus biturbinata
Blakely’s red gum Eucalyptus blakelyi
River red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Mountain gum Eucalyptus dalrympleana
Tumbledown red gum Eucalyptus dealbata
Yellow box Eucalyptus melliodora
Tallowwood Eucalyptus microcorys
Grey box Eucalyptus moluccana
Narrow-leaved black peppermint Eucalyptus nicholii
White Sally or Snow gum Eucalyptus pauciflora
Forest red gum Eucalyptus tereticornis
Ribbon gum Eucalyptus viminalis
High use
Apple box Eucalyptus bridgesiana
Mountain blue gum Eucalyptus brunnea
Broad-leaved stringybark Eucalyptus calignosa
Silvertop stringybark Eucalyptus laevopinea
Forest ribbon gum Eucalyptus nobilis
Narrow-leaved peppermint Eucalyptus radiata
Black Sally Eucalyptus stellulata
Youman’s stringybark Eucalyptus youmanii
Significant use
Rough-barked apple Angophora floribunda
Broad-leaved apple Angophora subvelutina
Cabbage gum Eucalyptus amplifolia
Drooping ironbark Eucalyptus caleyi
Red stringybark Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
New England peppermint Eucalyptus nova-anglica
Orange gum Eucalyptus prava
Eucalyptus williamsiana Eucalyptus williamsiana
Occasional use
Black she-oak Allocasuarina littoralis
White cypress pine Callitris glaucophylla
New England blackbutt Eucalyptus campanulata
Narrow-leaved ironbark Eucalyptus crebra
Narrow-leaved or Thin-leaved stringybark Eucalyptus eugenioides
Silver-leaved ironbark Eucalyptus melanophloia
Brittle gum Eucalyptus michaeliana
Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua
Sydney blue gum Eucalyptus saligna
Mugga ironbark Eucalyptus sideroxylon
Common name Species name
High preferred use
White box Eucalyptus albens
Blakely’s red gum Eucalyptus blakelyi
River red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Large-fruited grey gum Eucalyptus canalucilata
Dirty gum Eucalyptus chloroclada
Fuzzy box Eucalyptus conica
Coolibah Eucalyptus coolabah
Tumbledown red gum Eucalyptus dealbata
Dwyer’s red gum Eucalyptus dwyeri
Peppermint Eucalyptus exserta
Yellow box Eucalyptus melliodora
Western grey box Eucalyptus microcarpa
Grey box Eucalyptus moluccana
Parramatta red gum Eucalyptus parramattensis
White Sally or Snow gum Eucalyptus pauciflora
Narrow-leaved grey box Eucalyptus pilligaensis
Bimble box or Poplar box Eucalyptus populnea
Grey gum Eucalyptus punctata
High use
Narrow-leaved ironbark Eucalyptus crebra
Black box Eucalyptus largiflorens
Silver-leaved ironbark Eucalyptus melanophloia
Orange gum Eucalyptus prava
Significant use
Rough-barked apple Angophora floribunda
White cypress pine Callitris glaucophylla
Broad-leaved stringybark Eucalyptus caliginosa
Silvertop stringybark Eucalyptus laevopinea
Red stringybark Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
Mugga ironbark Eucalyptus sideroxylon
Occasional use
Belah Casuarina cristata
Apple box Eucalyptus bridgesiana
Drooping ironbark Eucalyptus caleyi
Mountain gum Eucalyptus dalrympleana
Broad-leaved red ironbark Eucalyptus fibrosa
Bundy Eucalyptus goniocalyx
Brittle gum Eucalyptus mannifera
Forest ribbon gum Eucalyptus nobilis
Red box Eucalyptus polyanthemos
White topped box Eucalyptus quadrangulata
Ribbon gum Eucalyptus viminalis

Useful resources

These resources provide further information about koala food trees across New South Wales, management plans and strategies local councils have in place to help conserve koala populations.

  • Hawes W, Hunter J, Lechner A and Ede A 2016, Northern Tablelands Koala Recovery Strategy 2015–2025, prepared by The Envirofactor, Inverell, NSW, for the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (NT LLS).
  • Ede A, Hawes W and Hunter J 2016, Koalas on the Northern Tablelands: Literature Review, prepared by The Envirofactor, Inverell, NSW, for the NT LLS.