Planting a koala food forest

Port Stephens Koalas joined forces with Landcare to establish koala food trees on private land.

Planting a koala food forest

Port Stephens Koalas joined forces with Landcare to establish koala food trees on private land.

Making a Difference -


The issue


The koala population in Port Stephens is in decline due to ongoing threats- loss of habitat, dog attack, motor vehicle strikes and disease.  Rescue and rehabilitation group 'Port Stephens Koalas' is doing their part to help the population recover by providing care to sick and injured koalas.  Koala carers realise the need for more habitat and food trees to help the population recover.  In the past few years, Council has assisted with establishment of koala plantations on public land but the allocations of space had run out.

The solution

Port Stephens Koalas along with Hunter Region Landcare approached a private corporation to gain permissions to use a portion of their land for the benefit of the koala population.  The outcome of the meetings was a positive one for the koalas as Harbourside Haven generously donated the land for growing koala food trees under an MOU.

The koala food forest planting day was a great success with 46 Adults and Children from the community pitching in to plant 550 trees. Participants included Intrepid Landcarers, University of Newcastle students, local landcarer group members and individuals from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and even as far as Canada.  Seven different species of primary koala food trees were planted and given a good start with native fertiliser tabs, good soil, plenty of water, mulch to maintain moisture and tree guards to protect from predation and cold.   After 3.5 hours of hard work, attendees were rewarded with a delicious lunch platter of wraps and fruit followed by whale watching on the coast.

This project was possible due to the cooperation of many stakeholders including Port Stephens Council who donated the trees, equipment and mulch, Hunter Region Landcare Network who provided the coordination and for funding (through a partnership with Hunter Local Land Services), Hunter Intrepid Landcare for help in promotions and Port Stephens Koala volunteers for preparation of the site at the many working bees.

The impact

Not only did the community get behind the effort, there were many learning outcomes that took place.  The participants learned key ideas- threats to the population, how to identify a sick koala and who to call if they spot one in danger.  Young children helped alongside their parents and carers, paving the way for the future generation.  Everyone one learned practical skills in identifying Eucalypt species and planting techniques to ensure survival.

Three months later, over 90% of the trees planted are growing and thriving, with the remainder being replaced with fresh tubestock.  Port Stephens Koalas along with local Landcare group members are watering and tending to the plantation to minimise weeds and disturbance.  The planting will continue again next winter with another 500 plus trees at this location.

Key facts

  • 46 members of the community took part
  • 550 trees planted
  • Collaborative effort made it possible
  • Another planting next year
  • Raised awareness of koala threats

Project Partners