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Wetlands wonder


Wetlands wonder

A frog species is flourishing after efforts to rehabilitate a conservation area.

A vulnerable frog is breeding and using specially created wetland habitat in a fast-growing area of the region, new research has found.

The wallum sedge frog is endemic to Australia and lives in wallum heathland across south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales.

Recent research has revealed a significant achievement in conservation efforts at Stockland Aura, with the frogs found to be taking well to habitats across the master-planned community.

Stockland senior environment and community development manager Mark Stephens says this achievement is an exciting milestone in the commitment to rehabilitate a significant conservation area.

“We are creating 700 hectares of conservation land from ex-degraded pine plantation in Aura,” Mr Stephens says.

“And through this effort, we’re creating significant habitat for the wallum sedge frog to not only inhabit, but flourish.

“This is thanks to incorporating strategically located wetlands across this conservation land into Aura’s design.

“These wetlands, or small ponds, not only allow for protection and breeding of the wallum sedge frog, but also the other two acid frog species found across the site.”

Renowned frog habitat restoration expert Dr Mark Bayley, who has worked closely with the Stockland team since 2012, says early efforts had focused on understanding why these frogs have such unique habitat requirements.

“Initially, we needed to create small, shallow ponds for the frogs to colonise and breed,” Dr Bayley says.

“Following this, large areas were restored around each pond to allow the frog to move (from pond to pond) and feed.”

To date, Dr Bayley and his team have built 155 small wetlands across 200-plus hectares within the Aura site.

“Breeding season for these frogs generally falls anytime between October to April,” he says.

“Each year, we’re finding more frogs in more of the ponds across Aura, and we expect that to continue.”

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