The NSW government has unveiled a plan on how to save threatened animals and plants from bushfires.
Last summer’s catastrophic blazes presented a huge threat to Australia’s unique wildlife, with important habitat being burnt.
The new response plan aims to help species like koalas, regent honey eaters and mountain pygmy-possums survive future fires.
“We know from the best available science, that due to a changing climate, bushfires are likely to become more severe and more frequent. This plan will help us to protect and support our state’s unique and precious biodiversity for the long term,” NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said in a statement.
The plan calls on the government to monitor ecosystems, increase opportunities for Aboriginal people to manage fire-affected sites, and establishing new breeding programs for threatened species, among other measures.
The government’s immediate response to the fires included measures such as air-dropping 14.5 tonnes of carrots and sweet potatoes to feed hungry wallabies.
But more is needed to secure the future of vulnerable animals and plants.
The plan calls for expanded breeding programs for threatened species such as the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, smoky mouse, wollemi pine and rainforest plants.
A forest with critically endangered wollemi pines west of Sydney will be declared an “asset of intergenerational significance”, a first for the state, in a move that the government hopes will protect the species.
“It is encouraging to see threatened species returning to the fire grounds across NSW, with more than 200 species including the koala, and greater glider have been supported at more than 330 sites,” Mr Kean said.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will be responsible for implementing the plan.