Tree hollows and artificial nest boxes are critical for the survival of biodiversity within the local community. Around 300 animal species rely on tree hollows in Australia, including birds, possums, gliders, microbats, frogs, lizards, snakes, insects and spiders. It is therefore crucial that we know more about the hollows that exist within our local communities.
What is Hollows as Homes?
Hollows as Homes is the first large-scale citizen science project of its kind. Its purpose is to better understand and demonstrate the importance of hollows as habitat for wildlife within our cities and rural areas across the Sydney region.
The project is coordinated by the Royal Botanic Garden, University of Sydney, and the Australian Museum, with Campbelltown City Council being one of 30 Councils getting behind the project and encouraging its community to take part.
We need your help!
The Hollows as Homes team need your help to identify as many hollows as possible that are being used by our wildlife throughout our urban and agricultural areas.
The information you provide will be used to build a picture of the location, type and number of hollows and nest boxes available in your local area, as well as the wildlife using them. It will also form part of Council’s plans to retain important habitat trees, plant future habitat trees and supplement missing habitat (e.g. small, medium or large hollows) through the installation of cut in hollows or nest boxes.
How to get involved?
To become involved in the project all you have to do is find a hollow bearing tree or a tree with a nest box that you can keep an eye on easily and record the information that the Hollows as Homes team need. You can monitor as many trees as you like, in fact the more information collected, the better the outcomes for the project.
For further information on Hollows as Homes, contact Dr. Adrian Davis on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Hollows as homes Facebook page.
Build your own nest box
Greater Sydney Local Land Services and Birdlife Australia have some great resources to help build your own nest box for a variety of native species. Click on the links under Related Information to learn more.
Why is this project so important?
In our urban and agricultural areas large, hollow-bearing trees are in decline. Many of our species rely on tree hollows for habitat, including at least 46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs. So important are tree hollows to our native wildlife, that their loss has been classed as a Key Threatening Process to biodiversity in New South Wales.
The main reason that their loss is so significant is the length of time that it takes for a tree hollow to form. In Australia, there are no animals that are able to create tree hollows (e.g. wood pecker in much of the rest of the world), thus hollow creation is a slow process that relies on fungus to eat away at the tree.
The Hollows as Homes project will help to identify how many tree hollows we have and how they are being used and therefore better plan to preserve this vital habitat into the future.