What are wildlife corridors?
Wildlife corridors are connections across the landscape that link up areas of habitat. They support natural processes that occur in a healthy environment, including the movement of species to find resources, such as food and water.
Corridors can contribute to the resilience of the landscape in a changing climate and help to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon in native vegetation. They can also support multiple land uses such as conservation, farming and forestry.
Wildlife corridors at different scales
Wildlife corridors can range in size – from small corridors created by local communities to large corridors that stretch across many different landscapes.
For example, a small corridor might be an area along a creek that has been revegetated by a local community group to link two patches of forest. Native animals could then move more freely between these forests to find food, shelter and opportunities to breed.
Large-scale corridors might span tens or hundreds of kilometres across multiple landscape types and jurisdictions. Typically a large-scale corridor would require collaboration between a wide range of groups working in partnership to manage them.
Many smaller wildlife corridor projects may be undertaken as part of a larger corridor initiative, each making an important contribution to connecting the landscape.
Landscape elements that contribute to wildlife corridors
The diagram below shows some important landscape elements contributing to wildlife corridors. Click on the diagram for a larger version.
Diagram showing landscape elements that contribute to wildlife corridors
Landscape elements that contribute to wildlife corridors include:
- Native grasslands provide habitat and pasture
- Linear strips of roadside and fence line vegetation form important links in the landscape
- 'Stepping stones' of native vegetation such as paddock trees link larger patches
- Sensitively designed urban parks and gardens contribute habitat for native species
- Free-flowing rivers transport nutrients and sediment to the sea
- Fish travel between fresh and saltwater environments at different lifecycle stages
- Migratory bird species rely on important wetland and shore habitats
- Fauna moving through the landscape disperse pollen and seed
- Floodplain inundation triggers plant regeneration and provides habitat for aquatic species
- Large patches of native vegetation provide core habitat
- 'Buffers' around natural areas protect them from external threats
- Long distance movement of migratory species
Land use practices that contribute to wildlife corridors
Wildlife corridors can be created by adjusting land use practices to help retain, restore and manage natural connections and interactions across the landscape. Examples of land use practices that contribute to wildlife corridors are shown in the diagram below. Click on the diagram for a larger version.
Diagram showing land use practices that can contribute to wildlife corridors
Land use practices contributing to wildlife corridors include:
- Indigenous Protected Areas managed for cultural and ecological values
- Restoration efforts such as revegetation link core habitat patches
- National parks managed to preserve values and minimise impacts of invasive species
- Private land conservation and stewardship
- Development offsets contribute to habitat restoration and management
- Periodic wetland inundation from environmental flows
- Landcare and Coastcare groups manage local areas
- Local governments incorporate connectivity conservation in land planning and management
- Urban landholders create biodiverse gardens friendly to wildlife
- Natural resource management grants and other incentives assist landholders to manage threats and restore habitat
- Roadside vegetation managed by state and local governments connect core habitat patches
- Holistic farm management plans assist private landholders
- Biodiverse plantings by landholders contribute to long-term carbon stores
- Paddock tree protection helps natural regeneration
- Invasive species management keeps landscapes healthy