Through careful grazing management, the Hidden Vale team has integrated beef cattle farming and wildlife conservation. Techniques include rotational grazing to reduce fire burden and a koala-friendly approach to land clearing. As well as improving Hidden Vale, this approach is being used to educate farmers about the future opportunities in “koala-friendly beef”.
Our research team is integrating technological advances with established wildlife management techniques to deliver more effective conservation strategies. Microchip-automated technology can provide captive wildlife with an extensive and unpredictable variety of food, enrichment and access to space designed for the individual animal. This more accurately replicates the natural environment.
The Billabong is a rehabilitated farm dam designed to support a diverse, healthy, thriving ecosystem for native wildlife. Earthworks have created both permanent deep ponds and shallow wading areas that fluctuate naturally with the seasons. Annual birdwatching activities have already noted an increase in diversity of wetland birds since the reconstruction and planting.
University of Queensland research students at Hidden Vale have been working to develop seed bombs, or seed cookies, that have essential ingredients to help germination and growth of Australian natives.
We are hoping to learn information valuable to revegetation and restoration on our properties, that can also be used by other landholders.
WWF- Australia Partnership
A commitment of research and restoration to assist koala populations has led to a partnership with WWF-Australia to undertake corridor plantings to reconnect known koala populations across cleared grazing flats, as well as road fencing and culvert (road underpass) modifications to assist their safe dispersal.
With the help of University of Queensland research students, fox abundance and their impact is under annual investigation across all Turner Family Foundation properties. This is part of a long-term initiative to understand the distribution, abundance and impact of feral species and develop target-specific control methods.
As part of our ongoing commitment to improving the land and habitat condition on our properties, biocondition monitoring sites are being set up across our nature refuges and cattle properties. Monitoring follows the Queensland Government-developed Biocondition Framework and is forming part of a long-term research dataset to adapt and develop sustainable property management guidelines.
Regional ecosystem mapping
Regional Ecosystems (vegetation associations with geology, landform and soils) are the essential element that needs to be understood in order to manage land for both production and conservation outcomes. We are undertaking work with the Queensland Herbarium to map all our current and preclearing Regional Ecosystems at a 1:25000 scale across our nature refuges. This will become the basis for sustainable property management.
Threatened species and their habitat
An important objective of the Hidden Vale Project is to restore habitat for threatened wildlife species, and assist those species to eventually recolonise. One species we are focussing on is the Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus), once an important native predator in this area. A team of researchers are investigating quoll distribution (current and historical) and what it would take to re-wild the landscape with quolls, including how they might harmoniously share landscapes with humans.