Backyards & Wildlife Corridors
When designing your backyard habitat or choosing where to plant any new plants consider any opportunities to connect your habitat or garden to adjoining or neighboring gardens and / or bushland vegetation to create a larger area habitat and to form vegetated corridors through urban areas.
By creating corridors of connecting vegetation and gardens through urban areas and linking backyards, front yards, drainage reserves, parks and bushland, you can provide vegetated corridors and stepping stones for a variety of wildlife species to move between larger bushland areas and to also increase foraging, roosting and nesting opportunities.
Importance of Wildlife CorridorsA wildlife movement corridor is a continuous length or closely spaced patches of native vegetation that provide a link or stepping stones between larger adjacent areas of bushland habitat. Vegetation linkages allow native animals to move more safely across the landscape and between core habitat areas. Continuous links or corridors of suitable habitat and size can themselves provide opportunities for foraging, roosting and nesting.
At the regional scale wildlife movement corridors and linkages can be many kilometers in length and several hundred metres in width. They can follow major river systems, small intermittent water courses, ridge lines and gullies and link areas of core habitat, national parks, conservation reserves and remnant vegetation. The quality, value and extent of regional corridors are strongly influenced by the degree of interference and disturbance such as land clearing, agriculture and development (towns, roads, infrastructure and houses).
It is important for wildlife to be able to move between different areas to search for food, water, protection, nesting and breeding opportunities. When wildlife are confined to small isolated pockets of vegetation their food sources can quickly become depleted or not be sufficient to meet their dietary or nutritional needs. Competition for safe, suitable roosting and breeding habitat is also increased. Genetic diversity between family and individual animals for breeding and health is reduced and animals are more susceptible to external factors such as human impacts and predation by domestic animals.
Urban Wildlife CorridorsIn urban and semi-urban areas vegetation linkages and wildlife movement corridors are just as important to prevent wildlife from becoming isolated in small pockets of parkland vegetation surrounded by our urban concrete jungle.
Linkages and corridors in urban areas occur on a much smaller scale and are usually broken or segregated by roads, infrastructure and houses. Urban linkages and wildlife corridors commonly occur along drainage reserves, retained waterways, parklands and bushland reserves. They usually consist of a mix of retained vegetation with revegetation / rehabilitation planting and urban landscaping.
In urban areas wildlife movement corridors can be created and enhanced by connecting larger areas of bushland via smaller linkages and stepping stones of native vegetation established within and between backyard and front yard gardens, drainage reserves, watercourses and parks.
tips on Connecting your habitat garden
- When designing your backyard habitat or choosing where to plant any new plants consider any opportunities to connect your habitat or garden to adjoining or neighbouring gardens and/or bushland vegetation to create larger, more diverse areas and corridors of native vegetation through urban and semi urban areas.
- The larger and more connected a habitat area is, the greater the foraging and movement opportunities are for a more diverse variety of wildlife species to move between local bushland areas.
- Work with your neighbours and double your efforts. Landscape an unused back corner or along a fence or boundary and connect your backyard habitat to create vegetated linkages between back/front yards and along entire streets.
- For houses on a small block or with limited backyard area, consider planting your front yard. Generally front yards are not separated by high solid fences like backyards. By planting front areas with local native shrubs and ground covers it can be easier to form connections between and with neighbouring front yards to create an urban wildlife corridor.
- If you only have a small yard or courtyard, consider selecting locally native plants that can contribute as part of an urban wildlife food trail or act as a stepping stone. By planting a range of insect attracting plant species you can provide food sources for small birds, reptiles, frogs and micro bats living in adjoining habitat. Even allowing some of your veggies to flower and go to seed can provide a food source for butterflies and native bees. Increasing the quantity of flowers, seeds, insects and good bugs in your garden will increase the foraging opportunities for birds, frogs and lizards moving through your yard to larger gardens. Simply providing a safe and regular source clean water is an important resource along an urban wildlife movement corridor. For more ideas on habitat gardening in small spaces check out our Habitat Garden in a Pot page.
Sunshine Coast residents are welcome to use Councils online mapping program My Maps or for all other users Google Maps to see where your local bushland, parks and drainage reserves are located in relation to your house and street and to help identify whether your garden is part of an important corridor or a stepping stone between two larger areas.
These tools will get you thinking about the physical and environmental characteristics of your backyard, existing habitat values, features and/or constraints that you need to consider when planning and designing your new garden.
challenges, tools and games.
Useful Tips and Facts
- Create urban wildlife corridors and stepping stones to larger local bushland or parkland areas.
- In nature there is no such thing as waste everything is linked and contributes to the cycle. As a plant reaches the end of its life cycle it is not discarded by nature, instead it provides habitat for animals and food for micro-organisms as it lies on the ground, the waste from the micro-organisms, bacteria and fungi feeding on it replace nutrients and organic material to the soil for new plants to grow.
- Plant local native species
- The best way to attract native wildlife to your backyard is to provide a variety of healthy natural foods in the form of seeds, leaves, flowers, nectar, pollen, fruits and nuts throughout the year.
- The use of pesticides and herbicides can damage your soils and kill non target species. The poisoning of insects with chemicals can also cause larger species relying on those insects as a food source to become sick or even die from eating poisoned insects.
- To create habitat for smaller native birds you can grow shrubs close together to create dense corners or pockets in your garden which will provide protection and refuge from larger aggressive birds such as noisy miners
- Wattles (Acacias). While most wattles only live between 6 - 10 years, they are an important pioneer species which colonise disturbed areas, where other plants find it hard to grow. They improve soil conditions enough to allow other species to germinate and thrive by fixing nitrogen into the soil through their roots and adding high levels of organic leaf litter.