Life After Death

What to do with the dieback trees?

Life After Death

What to do with the dieback trees?

Community Participation -


The issue

Dieback of ribbon gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) on the Monaro has left thousands of dead trees scattered across an area the size of the ACT.  Although dead, these trees still play a vital role in the landscape. We felt a great need to educate the landholders and residents about this.  

We embarked on a field day to count hollows in a Travelling Stock Reserve badly affected by tree dieback.  We determined that about 30% of the dead trees did contain a hollow.  We researched the current science on tree hollows and created a small flyer which we distributed throughout the affected area, put in our local newspaper and sent out to our members and supporters.

The solution

The brochure had two themes, Let them stand and Let them lie.

Our brochure listed all the information we could gather on this important subject. Below is just a snapshot of what was included.

Standing dead trees, especially those with hollows provide key habitat for birds, mammals such as gliders, possums, bats, reptiles and frogs. A third of the threatened animal species found on the Monaro rely on dead trees for their survival. Fauna species have become threatened due to loss of hollow-bearing trees. Leaving fallen branches where they drop rather than piling them up creates a good nursery environment for new trees to establish, fallen branches also provide habitat for ground-dwelling native animals. Burning dead wood sends carbon back into the atmosphere instead of where it most needs to be – locked away in trees, grasses and soils. 

The impact

We have made a very important impact by producing a document on the subject.  However, this sort of knowledge seeps into the community slowly.  We have met landholders who have felt a need to 'clean up' and remove the dead trees but once dialogue begins this can lead to a very quick change of plan.  When landholders understand the rationale for leaving the trees it can be a great relief for them. Our flyer will continue to be distributed within the area.  Please take a look at it 

Key facts

  • Stands of dead trees, as found on the Monaro as a consequence of a severe dieback event, continue to provide safe, sheltered 'stepping stones' for birds and mammals to move across the landscape.
  • Trees that have fallen, and if left alone, provide a nursery for emerging seedlings.
  • Removal of dead trees is listed as a Key Threatening Process under the 2016 NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act.