Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery

In a partnership between the National Landcare Network, Landcare Australia and the Peak Landcare State and Territory Landcare organisations across Australia, Landcare SA is helping deliver on a $14 million Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program announced in May 2021 by the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley. 

This program is supporting wildlife and habitat recovery projects in seven government-designated regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires in which Kangaroo Island, South Australia has been identified. There are eight projects on Kangaroo Island that have been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat. 

Agriculture Kangaroo Island Incorporated – Extension of Thermal Assisted Aerial Cull of Feral Pigs on Kangaroo Island: This project extends feral pig eradication efforts on Kangaroo Island by funding thermally assisted aerial culling of feral pigs on the western end of the island. Removing feral pigs from the recovering native vegetation will immediately support the recovery of threatened biodiversity. 

thermal aerial cull team at start of operation. Left to right, Rob Matthews (HeliSurveys, Senior Pilot), Brenton Florance (KI Landscape Board, Aerial Marksman), Tony Blumson (HeliSurveys, thermographer)

BirdLife Australia – Recovering Kangaroo Island’s Birds after Black Summer Wildfires: This project will establish long-term community monitoring sites, to collect occupancy and abundance rates of post-fire populations of birds across Kangaroo Island, including the Kangaroo Island Emu-wren, Kangaroo Island Whipbird and Bassian Thrush. The project will partner with the community and landowners to assist in surveys to inform post-fire recovery of Kangaroo Island birds, guiding long-term fire planning and habitat management. 

Student volunteer undertaking a bird survey at a community survey site 

Kangaroo Island Conservation Landowners Association – Habitat augmentation, adaptation and survey of bats and pygmy-possums after Kangaroo Island bushfires: The current project will engage local scientists, landholders, and community volunteers to assess and adapt nest boxes to promote the recovery of seven bat species, and Little Pygmy- possum populations. 

Photo credit. A/Professor Sophie Petit 

Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Felixers for Fire Relief: This project will support the development of artificial intelligence camera monitoring and deploy Felixer grooming traps in unburnt areas within the 2019/2020 fire scar on Western Kangaroo Island. Feral cat control will benefit species, such as the Kangaroo Island dunnart and Kangaroo Island echidna, that are finding refuge within these unburnt habitat patches. 

Senior ecologist Pat Hodgens sets up Felixer trap 

Kangaroo Island Landscape Board – A Fighting Chance – Advances in invasive predator control to deliver landscape-scale benefits for post-fire threatened species recovery: This project will utilise large-scale remote monitoring of traps to improve the efficiency of post-fire feral cat control. The monitoring system will complement existing techniques including cage traps, soft-jaw leg hold traps, thermal imaging assisted hunting, baiting and feral cat detector dogs, to reduce feral cat predation and improve post-fire recovery outcomes for a range of threatened fauna species. 

KI Landscape Board project staff Setting soft jaw foothold trap 

Kangaroo Island Landscape Board – Deploying baits to control feral cats in forestry properties on Kangaroo Island: This project will deliver broad-scale feral cat baiting to optimise cat control efforts across fire-affected forestry areas of western Kangaroo Island. The project will suppress feral cat numbers and complement existing threatened species fire recovery projects underway. 

A captured feral cat in cage 

Nature Conservation Society of SA Inc. – Mobilising and supporting a community-led fire recovery initiative for Kangaroo Islands’ threatened flora: This project will mobilise and support a community-led initiative to recover threatened populations of fire-impacted flora and to mitigate immediate extinction risks for the most imperilled species. Activities include assessing, prioritising and addressing post-fire recovery actions, such as seed collection and propagation, and developing a citizen science threatened flora monitoring project. 

Community members attend a threatened plant workshop delivered by the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre (SASCC) of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia  

South Australian Museum – Islands within an island: invertebrate species of conservation concern in unburnt refugia within the burn scar on Kangaroo Island: The project will conduct surveys for invertebrate species at risk of extinction in unburnt refugia on Kangaroo Island, including the Kangaroo Island Micro-trapdoor Spider and Kangaroo Island Assassin Spider. Activities include surveys to collect data on distribution in unburnt remnants and threats to post-fire recovery, molecular analyses to delineate species boundaries and distributions, a trial of a DNA collection method and the prioritisation of recovery actions. 

Searching through leaf litter in search for the very rare assassin spider thought to be possibly extinct after the 2019/20 black summer bushfires 

Click here for more information and stories on Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Program Projects around Australia. 

The Program has been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.