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This area of the program investigates how the Coastal IFOA multi-scale landscape protections and conditions are adequately protecting focal species and their habitat from forestry operations and support their occupancy and persistence in the landscape.

1. Monitoring species occupancy

The program will monitor trends across landscapes and regions for focal fauna species using occupancy modelling. Where species overlap, this information will feed into the cross-tenure, state-wide fauna occupancy monitoring being undertaken for the Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program.

Data on the presence or the absence of focal species across the Coastal IFOA areas will be used to measure occupancy and detect trends over time. Data will be captured through a field-based monitoring program, mainly consisting of remote survey methods throughout the various forest management zones. This will include the use of infrared cameras and acoustic devices but will also require some species-specific methods, including spotlighting for the greater glider (Petauroides volans).

1.1 Fauna monitoring on North Coast forests


The NSW Forestry Corporation of NSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries are now monitoring fauna species occupancy on north coast state forests and other tenures.

This work builds on a three-year study of koala occupancy in hinterland forests between 2015-2017 undertaken by the same researchers. Four years of pre-fire data provides a strong base-line for ongoing koala monitoring and assessing the impacts and recovery from the 2019 fires in these forests.

More information can be found here.

1.2 Fauna call recognisers


The NSW Department of Primary Industries, in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology, NSW Forestry Corporation and Victorian University of Wellington are developing fauna call recognisers for a range of forest dependent species such as large forest owls and frogs. This work will support fauna occupancy monitoring on state forests.

More information can be found here.

2. Monitoring specific fauna species

The species-specific fauna monitoring strategy will adopt the monitoring outlined in each of the Coastal IFOA fauna species management plans (SMPs). These plans contain detailed objectives and monitoring requirements for the species, generally at specific locations, plus review and reporting requirements.

A process to review species management plans was developed by the Commission in collaboration with the Coastal IFOA technical working group and FMIP Steering Committee independent expert Professor Philip Gibbons, and approved by the FMIP Steering Committee. As part of a species management plan review, a Species Management Plan Review Group formed of specialists from Forestry Corporation of NSW, EPA, DPIE and DPI-Forest Science, review the monitoring approach for each Species Management Plan. Results from previous monitoring data collected will be analysed to inform suggested improvements.

Based on the findings of the review and monitoring data analysis, the Commission, on behalf of the Steering Committee, advise the EPA on suggested improvements to the species management plans to ensure the program can continue to improve the effectiveness of the Coastal IFOA conditions for supporting the persistence of those fauna species.

2.1 Yellow-bellied Glider

The first species management plan review for the yellow-bellied glider is now complete.

The Species Management Plan Review Group worked collaboratively to recommend changes to the yellow-bellied glider species management plan based on an analysis undertaken by the DPI Forest Science team. The group identified potential improvements including updating the objectives of the species management plan to ensure they can be effectively answered with improved monitoring methods, and a revision of the species management plan objectives to consider yellow-bellied glider recovery in a post-fire landscape. These improvements were endorsed by the FMIP Steering Committee and the Commission, on behalf of the Steering Committee, advised the EPA:

  • Improvements to the method to monitoring yellow-bellied Gliders such as the use of songmeters going forward, to allow for repeat surveys (nights) for occupancy analysis.
  • Occupancy modelling should continue for the next 2-3 years to assess trends in the Bago-Maragle yellow-bellied glider population, particularly the impact of the bushfires and recovery of the species post-fire. Objectives of the species management plan will need to be updated to support these changes.
  • Once the monitoring is complete, the specific conditions relating to the species will be reviewed, should the Coastal IFOA conditions be found to be adequately protecting this species, yellow-bellied gliders will be monitored as part of the broader species occupancy monitoring and a species management plan will no longer be required.

2.2 Southern Brown Bandicoot

The Southern Brown Bandicoot Species Management Plan (SMP) was approved in 2007. Monitoring has been undertaken by FCNSW in line with the SMP since this time. The DPI Forest Science team has analysed field data and reported findings for the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

A cross agency technical team – the Species Management Plan Review Group (the group) - reviewed DPI’s analysis and recommended improvements to the NSW Forest Monitoring Steering Committee (the Committee). In reviewing the species management plan and associated monitoring, the group was supported by native wildlife and monitoring expert Dr Andrew Claridge and the Committee’s independent advisor Professor Phillip Gibbons.

The NSW Forest Monitoring Steering Committee has endorsed the team’s recommendations.

The Commission, on behalf of the Steering Committee, advised the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to:

  • update management objectives to ensure bushfire and harvesting impacts are effectively monitored, including thresholds to trigger management responses
  • implement and monitor the effectiveness of predator control on state forests
  • increase locations to monitor different harvest treatments and use the Ben Boyd National Park dataset as a control site to compare and analyse differences
  • update data analysis to include timber harvesting as a primary parameter when investigating potential changes.

The EPA have accepted the recommendations. The EPA will work with Forestry Corporation of NSW and the group to ensure the management plan is updated accordingly.

3. Monitoring specific flora species

The species-specific flora monitoring strategy will adopt the monitoring outlined in each species management plans (SMPs). SMPs are being prepared for seven focal flora species, with two already completed and another five currently being drafted.

The SMPs will detail monitoring, review and adaptive management of the Coastal IFOA conditions for those species. Two of the flora species, native jute (Corchorus cunninghamii) and East Lynne midge orchid (Genoplesium vernale) which are currently having SMPs drafted, are already being monitored on Coastal IFOA state forests under the NSW Saving Our Species program The Saving Our Species monitoring work will be incorporated into the monitoring component of the SMP.

SMP monitoring results will be analysed in accordance with the requirements within each SMP. The analysis will be used to determine the effectiveness of the SMPs in maintaining the presence of those species and their habitats within a forested landscape.

3.1 Milky Silkpod and Rusty Plum

The Species Management Plan Review Group worked collaboratively to recommend changes to the Rusty Plum and Milky Silkpod species management plan. The Commission engaged Dr. Doug Binnns to review the plans and inform the group. The group identified potential improvements including steps to strengthen monitoring and data analysis to ensure scientifically robust results. These improvements were endorsed by the FMIP Steering Committee.

On behalf of the Steering Committee, the Commission advised the EPA the plans could be improved by:

  • Developing species distribution models for the Rusty Plum and Milky Silkpod across tenures to determine the current extent of reservation to protect the species’ habitat.
  • Targeting field validation to confirm key areas and populations across their extent.
  • Determining if sufficient areas of the species’ habitat occur in protected areas, and evaluate if existing conditions are adequate. This should use the most current knowledge gained from the monitoring to date on impacts from harvesting and fire. This will help protect the long-term viability of the species and determine if supplementary measures and/or monitoring is still necessary.

The Commission also recommended updating the objectives of the species management plan to support these changes. Dr Binns review was provided to the EPA and FCNSW.

The EPA have accepted the recommendations. The EPA will work with Forestry Corporation of NSW and the group to ensure the management plan is updated accordingly.

4. Monitoring landscape-scale trends

The University of New England and the NSW Department of Primary Industries Forest Science Unit will deliver baselines, drivers and trends for species occupancy and distribution in NSW forests across all tenures, including Coastal IFOA state forests.

Over 15 leading scientists will form the team including scientists from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment who will adopt indicators and modelling from the NSW Biodiversity Indicators program as part of the work. Professor Nick Reid, University of New England will lead the project. Dr. Rod Kavanagh will coordinate investigators across the project.

More information

Click here for information on monitoring key habitat features.