Muckleford Forest is part of a KBA – a Key Biodiversity Area. This is an international designation! It used to be referred to as an IBA – an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. But what’s in a name? We know the Muckleford Forest is part of a network of forest remnants across our goldfields Box-Ironbark region that are outstanding for woodland birds and many other species. They are also part of what Dja Dja Wurrung call ‘upside down country’ in their Country Plan – reflecting the impact of gold mining.
Our KBA is the Bendigo Box-Ironbark KBA and includes all the box-ironbark woodland remnants that are significant for Swift Parrots in the Bendigo region of central Victoria (as defined by Kennedy and Tzaros 2005) and includes the following remnants (with land-ownership status): Sandon (SF), Strangways (private), Lockwood (SF), Muckleford-Maldon (Muckleford NCR and Maldon SF), Shelbourne (NCR), Diamond Hill-Mandurang-Sedgwick (Bendigo NP, Mandurang SF, Diamond Hill HR, Spring Gully Reservoir and Sedgwick SF), Pilchers Bridge-Lyell (Pilchers Bridge NCR and Lyell SF), Whipstick (NP), Wellsford (Regional Park, Mt Sugarloaf NCR and SF) and Kamarooka (NP; the whole of Kamarooka forest is taken in its entirety for its population of Diamond Firetails and Purple-gaped Honeyeaters). Most of the IBA is within protected areas or state forests, with only small forest blocks on private land.
Our loose network – the Muckleford Forest Friends Group – having delivered ‘Talking Fire’ last year (have a look at the presentations, audios, photos at Talking Fire) is now planning for the first KBA Easter Health Check of the Muckleford Forest in 2018.
Broadly speaking our plan – as one of a number of KBA Guardians – is to select around 10 sites across the Muckleford Forest, and monitor them regularly throughout 2017/2018, so that when the Easter Health Check comes around in 2018, we are in a better position to make an informed assessment. We’ve got ideas for systematic recording, as well as those serendipitous encounters, and using this website and posts as a way of sharing. We’d also like to link in with anyone who is making observations in the Muckleford Forest.
We’d love you to get involved. Next step is some more planning with Tanya Loos from Connecting Country who is coordinating across this large KBA. So let us know what you are interested in – if you like planning and organisation, our next meeting is Tues 2 May – or if you’d like to put your hand up for a monitoring site or to propose a location you’ve already been monitoring – or for any other ideas – drop us a line to email@example.com