Revegetating Koala Habitat - South Coast Koala Management Area

This fact sheet describes the koala populations of this region and how revegetating habitat is important to help these isolated populations survive.

Koala, Phascolarctos cinereus

The South Coast Koala Management Area (KMA 3) extends from the Shoalhaven region to the Victorian border on the New South Wales south coast.

Koala populations in KMA 3 are patchy and sparse. Koalas live around the southern fringes of the Bega Valley (Eden), in coastal forests near Bermagui, the Shoalhaven Gorge area and within Morton National Park and surrounds.

The distribution and abundance of some of these populations are not well understood.

Map of South Coast Koala Management Area.

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


Koalas and koala habitat in KMA 3 are threatened by:

  • lack of knowledge about these low-density populations and the threats they face
  • habitat clearing and fragmentation due to rural residential development
  • small numbers of koalas in isolated groups can lead to localised extinction
  • bushfires cause koala death, small isolated groups are particularly at risk
  • vehicle strike
  • disease
  • canopy dieback across a range of plant species
  • potential negative impact of myrtle rust on eucalypts.

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.

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:

  • 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 list

This tree lists contains recommended tree species for koala habitat within KMA 3. The list aligns with local government areas located within this KMA:

South coast

  • Bega Valley
  • Eurobodalla
  • Kiama
  • Shoalhaven
Common name Species name
High preferred use
Monkey gum Eucalyptus cypellocarpa
White stringybark Eucalyptus globoidea
Woollybutt Eucalyptus longifolia
Maiden’s blue gum Eucalyptus maidenii
Grey gum Eucalyptus punctata
Forest red gum Eucalyptus tereticornis
High use
Coast grey box Eucalyptus bosistoana
Yertchuk Eucalyptus consideniana
Narrow-leaved or Thin-leaved stringybark Eucalyptus eugenioides
Mugga or red ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa
Significant use
Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua
Sydney blue gum Eucalyptus saligna
Occasional use
Black she-oak Allocasuarina littoralis
Rough-barked apple Angophora floribunda
Red bloodwood Corymbia gummifera
Spotted gum Corymbia maculata
Blue-leaved stringybark Eucalyptus agglomerata
Blue box Eucalyptus baueriana
River peppermint Eucalyptus elata
Brown barrel Eucalyptus fastigata
Yellow stringybark Eucalyptus muelleriana
Grey ironbark Eucalyptus paniculata
Blackbutt Eucalyptus pilularis
Sydney peppermint Eucalyptus piperita
Hard-leaved scribbly gum Eucalyptus sclerophylla
Silvertop ash Eucalyptus sieberi
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.

  • Allen C 2005, Draft Koala Report NSW Far South Coast, Department of Environment and Conservation, Sydney, NSW.
  • Allen C 2010, Estimating koala numbers & assessing population trends in south eastern NSW, report prepared for the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee to assist its assessment on the listing of the koala as a threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Sydney, NSW.
  • Jurskis V and Potter M 1997, Koala surveys ecology and conservation at Eden, State Forests of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • Joliffe K, Bulman D, Chockman L and Malam C 2017, Eurobodalla koala recovery strategy – 2014 to 2026, prepared on behalf of The Coastwatchers Assoc Inc, Batemans Bay, NSW.
  • Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) 2016, 2012–14 Koala survey report in coastal forests of south-eastern NSW – Bermagui/Mumbulla area: Corridors and core habitat for koalas, OEH, Sydney, NSW.