Front gardens in Perth might be wildlife havens for native birds and animals according to a Murdoch University environmental science researcher.
PhD candidate Rafeena Boyle said dwindling habitats meant ecologists were on the look-out for land that might help to support decreasing populations of birds and marsupials like black cockatoos, fairy wrens and bandicoots, and suburban gardens could be the answer.
Ms Boyle will be surveying gardens across the Perth metro area this spring, noting what vegetation is growing and what kind of habitat it provides, in order to assess their value as wildlife havens.
“Many people think that gardens are just a place to mow the lawn or plant some flowers but in reality they have an important part to play in supporting our wildlife here in the city,” said Ms Boyle.
“Residential land makes up a large percentage of the Perth area, and with development only set to increase, we need to find new ways to help support native wildlife.”
Ms Boyle is hoping to build a team of volunteers to help with the data collection, which will involve walking around neighbourhoods, observing plants in front gardens, conducting bird surveys and delivering questionnaires.
“We want to know how people feel about their local environment and what they use their front gardens for,” she said.
“People can also get involved in the research by planting native gardens and contributing their observations to the research.”
Ms Boyle said she hoped the results of the survey would help environmental managers support native animals in urban areas, either through informing better management techniques and guidelines or by helping environmental programs that local councils can run.
City of Cockburn environment and waste education officer Vicky Hartill said that local councils are increasingly supportive of native gardens because they are waterwise and can help create habitat for local animals.
If you think you can contribute to Ms Boyle’s research, please email her.