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Designing a Farm Forest

Designing Revegetation Projects For Wildlife

Farm forestry can help to protect plants and animals by providing and protecting a native habitat.

In general, more layers of vegetation will support a wider variety of wildlife by providing a greater range of habitats. There is benefit in adding a diverse mix of vegetation layers into planting design, including understorey shrubs, taller middle-storey shrubs and/or small trees, and an upper canopy of taller tree species. Patchiness in a landscape also creates diversity and can be achieved by planting clumps or strips of different tree species next to each other and/or incorporating trees of different ages in adjoining patches.

Patches that are interconnected by corridors of vegetation are more likely to sustain populations of wildlife than isolated patches. Trees can be planted to link existing forest remnants or create new habitat patches, provided they are linked to each other. Whenever possible, creating corridors that lead nowhere should be avoided unless they are sufficiently large and structurally diverse enough to act as habitat in their own right.

Generally, larger areas of habitat support a more abundant and diverse range of plants and animals than smaller areas of the same habitat type. Shape is also important. Long, thin plantings are vulnerable to degrading edge effects such as increased nest predation and weed invasion. Trees should be planted in compact areas to both provide habitat and to protect against impacts from adjoining land uses. Patches should have the least possible edge, and linking vegetation should be as wide as possible. Riparian vegetation and corridors are particularly susceptible to edge effects. Farm forestry plantings can be used to protect existing native vegetation from edge effects by planting buffers of trees around the margins of existing remnant vegetation or along the edges of riparian vegetation.

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