The reduction in the number of large trees with hollows is occurring globally, and is particularly problematic in urban areas due to clearing for development and tree or branch removal to reduce risk to people.
Historically, nest boxes have been used as replacement hollows, but numerous issues in the efficacy of nest boxes have recently been raised. In response, there has been a dramatic push in the last few years to install artificial hollows in trees by carving hollows with chainsaws.
Using chainsaws to carve artificial hollows directly into the trunk and branches of trees is a habitat supplementation technique currently increasing in popularity.
This method has already been widely adopted by the Australian arboriculture industry, but very little systematic monitoring has been conducted to determine the conservation value that these microhabitats provide for Australian hollow-dependent wildlife.
In this presentation Rod will explain why proponents should take an experimental approach to hollow creation and outline a simple framework to guide councils and other land managers to maximise learning while creating such hollows. He will briefly demonstrate how this approach has been applied to the development of a hollow replacement strategy for a major infrastructure development project.
Steve will explore initial findings from several Victorian-based research projects investigating the effectiveness of chainsaw-carved hollows.
Dr Rodney van der Ree is the Australian National Technical Executive – Ecology, with WSP, a multi-national specialist engineering consultancy.
He is internationally recognised for his expertise in urban ecology and road ecology.
Rodney is also an Associate Professor at The University of Melbourne and continues to undertake research and supervise students in Australia and internationally, including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
He has published extensively, with over 70 refereed scientific publications, 120 conference and community presentations, 100 reports and popular articles and dozens of media presentations.
Rodney published the international award-winning “Handbook of Road Ecology” (Wiley, 2015), with 63 chapters by more than 100 authors from 25 countries.
He has advised the European Union on habitat fragmentation issues and sits on expert advisory committees for the Swedish Transport Administration and VicRoads. He has supported the development and growth of road ecology research and mitigation programs in South Africa, Singapore, India, Taiwan, China, Japan and South America.
Steve is a Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology, Environment & Evolution at La Trobe University, Melbourne. His current research is focused on quantifying the effectiveness of different types of artificial hollows in providing supplementary nest and den sites for hollow-dependent fauna in human-disturbed landscapes.
Along with collaborators from The University of Melbourne and The Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Steve is involved in several projects looking at the pros and cons of using traditional timber and plywood nest boxes, versus novel, largely untested types of artificial hollows, such as log hollows that are salvaged from felled tree limbs, and cavities carved with chainsaws directly into the trunks and branches of live trees.
Steve’s other research interests include the ecology and sociobiology of tree-roosting insectivorous bats, and mitigating risks associated with wildlife interacting with polluted anthropogenic water bodies.