Many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects are reliant on trees and their hollows for a number of salient reasons, mainly for food, shelter and protection from predators. With increasing levels of development and land clearing, the vegetation which is extremely important for our wildlife is being reduced, leaving the reliant species without their food and shelter sources. Other threats to hollows in Australia include firewood collection, rural dieback, pests and introduced species and the Western Honey Bee.
Trees that are dead or decaying are another valuable source of food and shelter for wildlife, however, this is often disregarded as they are deemed unsafe and are removed without considering the effect of the wildlife dependent on the tree. In urban areas tree safety is imperative regarding their risk to people and property, however, consulting with an experienced and qualified Arborist to find sustainable solutions to make the tree safe while still being habitat friendly is preferable.
The reduction of natural hollows is a cause for concern as their formation usually takes between 120 to 200 years depending on the tree species and environmental circumstances. Different types of bird and wildlife species prefer different hollow types and factors such as entrance size, insulation, protection from predators or even if the tree is alive or dead will determine which species uses which type of hollow. Natural hollows are thought to be utilized by 15% of Australia’s birds, 2/3 of the Micro-bat species, 15% of Australian vertebrate species and 1/3 of terrestrial mammals.
In Australia, natural hollows found in larger older trees generally the eucalypt species and other long-lived trees. Hollow openings range from 2cm to 75 cm with depths ranging from 10cm to 10m. Developing in the heartwood, a cavity can form from many factors, including:
Over time being exposed to the environmental elements, the heartwood will lose moisture, the wood will crack and shrink, encouraging fungi and bacteria to feed on the deadwood which in turn decomposes the wood and over many years will develop into hollows.
Many of hollow-dependent species in Australia are considered as threatened and it is imperative that solutions are found to combat their dwindling shelters. By conserving the existing hollows, protecting trees which have developing hollows and creating artificial or manmade hollows and cavities for the benefit of our endangered wildlife, much can be achieved in the preservation of endangered species.
Research surrounding the creation of artificial hollows is becoming more prevalent by ecologists and interested Consulting Arborists. If you are considering a habitat creation installation it is prudent to get an expert on board to oversee your exciting project. There are many ways to create habitat depending on your available trees whether they are healthy, dying or dead, space and even budget. Watch out for part two of our tree hollows and habitat creation blog which will explain the various methods of how habitat can be created in your garden, commercial space, or development.
If you would like to talk to a tree care company who provide a quality and professional tree service, who understand the benefits of proper tree maintenance and have the best interests of the customer and the environment at heart, call the Heritage Tree Care experts on 0737155444 for a free no obligation quote. Our qualified Arborists will be delighted to advise you on the best course of action for your trees. We cover Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Toowoomba and Gold Coast areas in Queensland, Australia.