NRM top tips - June: Leave large logs and rocks

Did you know that over 70 species of terrestrial wildlife (reptiles, birds, frogs and small mammals) found on cotton farms use logs and rocks as habitat? 

Unfortunately, simplification of habitat, ie the removal of the diversity of materials that form habitat such as logs, is threatening the existence of many of these species in agricultural landscapes.

Large hollow and decomposing logs provide the most useful habitat however these can take up to 200 years to form as they have to grow, die and become log habitat. Not only do logs provide habitat but they also provide an important contribution towards plant growth through nutrient recycling as they decompose.

Logs and rocks within our rivers, creeks and wetlands or along their banks provide shelter, safe breeding spots, food sources as they decompose and structural stability to river and creek beds.

Removal of logs and rocks is listed as a key threatening process for much of our wildlife, removal of logs by activities such as fire is gradually depleting them from agricultural landscapes with much of our vegetation consisting of immature trees that are not old enough to be shedding large limbs let alone dying of old age.

There are activities you can do on farm that can help protect this habitat without impacting on your farming activities which are described in the ‘what can I do’ section below. In this months blog we have compiled footage from a cotton farm fauna survey undertaken by ecologist Phil Spark showcasing some of the different species of wildlife that utilise this important habitat type.

What can you do?

  • Protect fallen logs and rocks in your natural areas
  • Consider using artificial habitat such as old building materials (wood and sheets of metal) to provide habitat where large logs and rocks are absent
  • Resist the urge to ‘tidy up’ or if you do need to move logs and rock consider putting them into piles and don’t burn them.
  • Watch this short video from CottonInfo: Fallen logs provide excellent fauna habitats on-farm

Further reading:

  • Frogs Reptiles & Mammals of the North Western Floodplain of NSW 

This blog is part of a year long program from CottonInfo, with the themes aligned with the 2019 CottonInfo cotton calendar. For more information, view the calendar, or contact the CottonInfo Technical Lead for Natural Resources, Stacey Vogel. Photo caption: Burns Dragon (Lophognathus bunsi), by Phil Spark.