Habitat Management Principle 4: Retain hollow trees and stags and encourage regeneration of trees
This principle is closely related to habitat complexity, but deserves special mention.
Old trees and dead standing trees (stags) are often referred to as “habitat trees”, because they provide an array of hollows of varying dimensions in which birds and other native fauna can shelter and breed. It is vital that these old trees are maintained in the landscape as it takes most eucalypts over 100 years to start forming hollows.
Equally important is the promotion of stand regeneration and a mixed age structure of trees within the stand. The germination, establishment and ongoing health of younger trees are vital to ensure the long-term viability of any patch of native vegetation. This will provide a continual recruitment of new hollowbearing trees to replace old trees as they die and eventually fall over.
- Protect and maintain a range of old hollow-bearing trees, including dead ones, in remnant patches
- Ensure that new trees are being recruited to create mixed-age stands
- Consider providing artificial hollows if few or no natural ones are available
- Avoid cutting down old hollow trees - leave at least five per hectare in remnants
- Ensure that firewood collectors leave some dead hollow trees standing
- Manage grazing pressure to allow tree seedlings to establish and mature
- Plant locally occurring tree species (e.g. eucalypts) that will provide future hollows
- Manage fire to maintain a balance of young trees and productive pasture
- Where hollow-bearing trees are scarce, try to protect them from destruction by fire
- Consider installing nest boxes in woodland areas where hollow trees have been lost