Movement of Koalas back into Severly Burnt Forest

  • YEAR: 2009
  • STATE: New South Wales
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 15: Life on Land

The key objective of this project is to map the movement patterns and identify home ranges of koalas as they recolonise an intensely burnt forest in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

The first step of the project is analysis of data on home ranges of koalas and koala movement patterns in burnt and unburnt forest. The next step is to compare the data sets with koala populations elsewhere in Australia. The final step is to identify the application of this work to practical onground management of koalas in Port Stephens, NSW.




FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Koala in Tree - Donate Australian Wildlife - FNPW - Wildlife Donation Australia - FNPW


The project was completed in 2011.

The project was funded by FNPW in 2009.

A Baby Koala Cling To It's Mother's Back - Australia Parks and Wildlife - FNPW


National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS) NSW is the lead organisation for this project.

This project was supported through the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Latest News on this Project

Project Report 2011

The primary achievement of this study was to determine the size shape and spatial pattern of koala home ranges in the burnt and unburnt forest in the Tomago sandbeds, Port Stephens, NSW.

A surprising finding was that a koala could leave its home range after a fire, walk 20 km over an 8 week period, then setup a new small home in unburnt bush. This demonstrates the flexibility koalas show in the face of bush fires.

However, the local threat to koalas comes from clearing and dog attack and the post fire environment combined with the easements leave this koala population vulnerable despite their mobility. The value of this work has been its immediate incorporation into the local koala plan of management and its wider applicability is in interpreting the scale over which we should be managing koala habitat, particularly in relation to fire, roads and clearing.

Related Projects

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Redlands Koala planting

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Habitats for Koalas in the Otways

The Great Otway National Park and surrounding private land is a region of high biodiversity and tourism value, especially for the high densities of koala populations. However, over-browsing by koalas has contributed to a marked decline in tree condition, particularly Eucalyptus viminalis (manna gum). This project aims to provide information on koala habitat use, tree species selection and koala movements between habitats in the Otways.

Impact of Bushfires on Koalas

Study to determine the impact of bushfire and clearing on koalas. Initial focus of the project was to map movement patterns and home ranges of Port Stephens koala populations as they recolonised after bushfires, followed by the study of the koalas use of burnt and unburnt bush, the selection of vegetation types and their ability to recolonise after bushfires.