Biodiversity refers to the living natural systems of an area including the plants, animals and micro-organisms. By 'systems' we mean the way that these species interact and exist together within their environment to form the local scale ecology. This complex web is often summarised to the term ecosystem.
For an urban area, Macquarie University contains many important biodiversity values. Over half of the 126 hectare campus is currently occupied by some form of open space, including some essentially natural areas of bush. We have over two kilometres of creek frontage within the campus which provide potential freshwater habitats.
Recently Property has begun a process of biodiversity planning to sustain and enhance the existing natural values found on campus.
Current Biodiversity Projects
Mars Creek drains from the suburb of Marsfield and flows for over a kilometre through Macquarie University into the Lane Cove National Park. 2012 sees the start of implementation of an environmental plan for this whole creek system within the University.
Using natural and biodegradable materials, the first 200 metres of Mars Creek are being re-shaped into a more sinuous course, with gently-sloping banks stabilised by dense plantings of native sedges and grasses. A vegetated buffer zone will extend along both sides of the rehabilitated creek.
Improved Water Quality and Reduced Flooding
Water filtration is being installed in the form of a 200 square metre reed-bed wetland connected to the main creek, and ‘bio swale’ interception of several other storm water sources before they reach the creek.
A second basin will provide temporary flood storage and a back swamp habitat, suitable for frogs and other wildlife.
A new footbridge across the creek with connecting footpaths will also be installed. This project is part of an environmental plan produced under Property's Sustainability projects in 2011 for the Mars Creek catchment. The valley of Mars Creek comprises the largest area of open green space in the University, and has considerable potential for innovative environmental management.
Tapping into the native seed bank
Away from the busy core areas of our campus are bushland remnants large enough in size to contain a diverse range of native plants.
During the spring of 2009, professional seed collection began in these areas to build a tailor-made source, or “bank”, of the most suitable native vegetation for planting in our restoration sites.
Plants raised from this first round of seed collection will include wattle, pea flower, banksias and, of course, eucalypts. The first generation of seedlings should be ready for use by the Bushcare Program in winter 2010.
"Dial a Habitat" – Tree nest boxes
Our campus has many bands of trees which were planted early in Macquarie’s development. These trees have grown to an impressive size in only a few decades, but the formation of natural tree hollows - the vital habitat used by native forest fauna – will come much more slowly.
Hence we have begun a process of adding wooden nest boxes to some of our maturing tree plantations, so that they can build up their native habitat values in advance of the formation of large natural tree hollows.
The initial installation will support three homes for micro bats, two for small parrot-sized birds like Crimson Rozellas or the endangered Swift Parrot, and also two boxes for Owls.
As part of this project we also took the opportunity to install 2 possum boxes near Building X5A, where inquisitive Brushtail Possums have been prone to trying to set up house in the teaching rooms.
Advocating Biodiversity Sustainably Managing Macquarie’s Biodiversity
Want to get involved?
- Become part of our Bushcare Group
as we aim to re-establish the riparian zone along the creek and reduce mowing.
» More information