The Land for Wildlife scheme (LFW) was established in Tasmania in 1998. Participation in this conservation scheme is voluntary, free, and non-binding. The LFW scheme aims to encourage, support and recognise landowners who are taking a positive approach to the integration of property land management with nature conservation on private land.
A large proportion of Tasmania's wildlife species and habitat types which are poorly reserved on public land occur on privately owned land. Protecting a diverse range of habitats today will assist in reducing the risk of species becoming threatened in the future. Properties registered with the LFW scheme can make a valuable contribution to protecting our wildlife species and habitats.
The LFW scheme is generally interested in areas that are greater than two hectares in size.
As at March 2017, there were around 942 LFW agreements in Tasmania covering 57,574 hectares.
Benefits of membership to the LFW scheme include:
- On-site assessment to provide information and advice on habitats and species;
- Practical advice and technical notes on land management;
- A book which provides information on native fauna and their habitats;
- A regular
- A durable, attractive sign to indicate your membership in the scheme.
Giving Swift parrots a helping hand
Photo: Chris Tzaros
‘Swift’ is an apt name for the swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) given they fly swiftly at speed in direct flight paths. They can readily be identified in flight not only by their swift speed but by the shape and green colour of their body and noticeable red colouration under their wings.
The swift parrot is now listed as a nationally critically endangered species and is under a very real threat of extinction – grim news for this beautiful bird species which is the only member of its genus worldwide. Recent estimates are that there are only around 1000 breeding pairs left in the wild.
Blue gum flowers and gum nuts
Swift parrots (fondly known as ‘swifties’), have a close association with blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus) and black gums (E ovata), their primary and preferred food source during the breeding season. They forage for the copious nectar in the blue gum’s especially large, cup-like flowers with their specially modified tongue which has a brush-like tip for gathering nectar.
Swift parrots fly to Tasmania from the mainland for their summer breeding season which usually starts around the end of August. They tend mostly to favour the eastern coastal region where their favoured habitat of blue gum forest occurs, though much of this has been cleared for coastal development, forestry or agriculture.
Swift parrots feeding on blue gum flowers
Photo: Keith Martin-Smith
One of the greatest threats to swifties is the loss of not only mature blue or black gum habitat but also trees with hollows in the areas that they are breeding in. It can take up to 100 to 200 years or more for hollows to form large enough for swifties to use as successful nest sites, so large old trees, dead or alive, are invaluable - not only to swifties but other hollow-dependent species, such as owls, forty-spotted pardalotes, possums, rosella species and bats.
This year on Bruny Island, swift parrot researcher Dr Dejan Stojanovic from the Australian National University (ANU) is leading an experiment to trial the use of nest boxes to make up for the shortfall of suitable and available natural tree hollows for swift parrots to nest in.
Swift parrots using a nest box on Bruny Island
Photo: Lachlan Story
Swift parrot hollow in a Eucalyptus pulchella tree
Photo: Matthew Webb
Another clever form of artificial tree hollow providing additional nesting sites is being created by carving hollows into trees. Dr Stojanovic reported that within a few days swifties were observed using many of these artificial hollows which is wonderful news.
- Iona Mitchell
To learn more about what is being done to save Swift parrots and how you can help, read the full version of this article in the December 2016 edition of The Running Postman newsletter:
The Running Postman December 2016 (1Mb)
Find out more about the species, how to recognise them and how to design and maintain your house and property to be swift-parrot-friendly, on the Threatened Species Link profile page: http://www.threatenedspecieslink.tas.gov.au/Pages/Swift-Parrot.aspx
The Running Postman
Photo by Peter Tonelli
Land for Wildlife
newsletters are now available online.
If you live in an urban or suburban area the
Gardens for Wildlife
scheme may interest you.
How to apply
If you would like more information about LFW, please complete and return the Expression of Interest form. Land for Wildlife Expression of Interest