Sunshine Coast conservationists battling to save climate-impacted pink moth from brink score $50k Landcare funding

Landcare Australia

Landcarers on the Sunshine Coast striving to save habitat impacted by extreme climate conditions for the endangered Southern Pink Underwing Moth have secured nearly $50,000 in funding.

With support from the (PLS INCLUDE) Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants (PLS INCLUDE), members of Barung Landcare are working closely with landholders in the Hinterland region to safeguard and regenerate rainforest and vine forests.

With over 75 per cent of rainforest and vine forests in the Sunshine Coast region found on private land, landholders play a vital role in the recovery and survival of many species.

An endangered species restricted to subtropical rainforest in Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland the Southern Pink Underwing Moth (Phyllodes imperialis smithersi) is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, invasive species and fire. As part of this project Barung Landcare will be collaborating with the scientific team at Natura Pacific to roll out a citizen science project to help improve the likelihood of its survival.

“Rainforest vegetation communities on the Sunshine Coast remain highly fragmented due to land clearing and land use changes since European settlement” explains Project Coordinator Megan Lee.

“This leaves remnant patches of rainforest quite vulnerable to the impacts of weeds, and prolonged periods of drought and heat can significantly dry out understories and increase the risk of fire and degradation of understorey environments.

“On the Sunshine Coast, it is expected that annual average temperatures will rise and our region will experience more days each year over 35°C, and more extreme heat waves and other extreme weather events too.

“This presents a challenging environment for the endangered Southern Pink Underwing Moth which is at risk of extinction due to its fragmented distribution, so it’s really important we work with landholders across the region to improve the quality, connectivity and resilience of our local rainforests. And the funding support from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants will help us make a significant impact.”

With $46,650 funding from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Barung Landcare will work with the local community, key stakeholders and key scientists to increase awareness and participation in restoring and building resilience in rainforest communities across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Barung Landcare’s community native nursery will also be expanded to increase rainforest plant production which will supply plants to landholders taking part in the project. A range of planned education activities aims to support the broader community to connect with practical knowledge and actions that help prepare for the impacts of a changing climate such as local seed collection days, plant ID and propagation workshops, environmental education film nights with key researchers, field days with local rainforest experts, and tree planting events with local landholders.

Funded by the Australian Government, the $14 million Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants are supporting projects in regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019–20.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization/author(s)and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).