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Since 2017, Council has been working with Parks Victoria, Nillumbik Landcare Network and local landowners to measure the health of wet/damp and dry forest remnants across the Shire.
The Forest Health Monitoring Project is a structured wildlife monitoring program that uses remote survey techniques (such as motion-sensing cameras and acoustic recorders) to detect ‘indicator’ wildlife species that are associated with healthy and degraded forested habitats. Local residents became ‘citizen scientists’ to help identify bird species in recordings using a sound analysis program.
Continual collection of data at these and other sites across the Shire will help us assess the health of Nillumbik’s forests and track changes over time - including the impact of bushfires and climate change.
The 30 sites are on private and public land within Nillumbik.
With advice from local wildlife experts and community consultation, 31 species of mammals and birds were selected as ‘indicator’ species to represent forest health.
More than 70,000 camera images were taken between 2017 and 2022 and identified:
From the list of indicator species, we created acoustic recognisers for 16 species. Citizen scientists and experts validated the results of seven of those. The Southern Boobook and the White-throated Treecreeper were the most common indicator species detected by acoustic recordings – present at 31 and 29 sites respectively. The Powerful Owl was the rarest, detected at only three sites.
An echidna in Hurstbridge -
Phascogale in Plenty Gorge
Superb Lyrebird in Kinglake
Wombat in Hurstbridge
If you are interested in bird calls and would like to become a citizen scientist, or to learn more about the project, contact the Environment team.