Agreement leads to a greater koala-tee of life on private land

ABOVE: Tony Rowland at his Kyogle property. Photos: Fiona Dawson/Envite

Tony Rowland wants to leave the forest in better shape than it was when he bought it.

That desire led him to be the first person to sign a permanent conservation agreement as part of a Collaborative Koala Habitat Protection project in the Northern Rivers.

The agreement covers about 20 hectares of his 28-hectare Kyogle property.

Tony has worked hard to restore his forest. For the past five years, he’s been removing a serious lantana infestation by hand.

The lantana was so thick it stopped koalas from moving about the property, and smothered native grasses and young trees such as the sheoaks that are a key food source for glossy black cockatoos.

With big areas of lantana removed, native grasses returned, providing food for black-striped wallabies.

Tony said the task of restoring a forest felt overwhelming at times.

In recent years, he received help from NSW government officers and some local groups to identify weeds, tackle lantana and learn more about the tree species and wildlife in his forest.

Two nestboxes for glossy black cockatoos have been installed.

“These conservation agreements are a win for landholders and the environment and I’d encourage other people to sign up,” Tony said.

“That will give the wildlife a chance to live. There are so many threatened species, it’s heartbreaking.

“I want my property to be a conservation area forever so no one can ruin all my hard work,” he said.

A further six property owners are in the final stages of making conservation agreements, including three others in Kyogle.

For more information on the conservation agreements go here.

A gum on Tony Rowland’s property.

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