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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Baseline map of koala occurrence in NSW

For the first stage of the koala mapping program, the EPA engaged the Office of Environment and Heritage to develop a broad-scale baseline map of koala occurrence in NSW (baseline map). Stage 1 of the koala mapping program includes:

  1. A preliminary map (PDF 4MB) of the likelihood of koala occurrence in New South Wales.
  2. A report on the Preliminary map of the likelihood of koala occurrence in New South Wales – for use in Private Native Forestry applications (PDF 4MB), which outlines on the development and use of the baseline map of koala occurrence.
  3. A supplementary report on the preliminary map of the likelihood of koala occurrence in New South Wales - comparison of preliminary baseline likelihood of occurrence mapping with koala habitat mapping on the NSW north coast (PDF 4.8MB)

Developing the baseline map of koala occurrence

The baseline map was created using current available data from the Atlas of NSW Wildlife. It identifies the likelihood of koala occurrence within set 5-kilometre grids across north east NSW and 10 kilometre grids across the remainder of NSW. Each grid cell is populated with data reflecting the number koalas recorded in the last 20 years (to reflect three generations of koalas), the relative proportion of koalas compared with other common mammals of similar observability, and a measure of statistical confidence associated with data in the cell.

Using the baseline map of koala occurrence

The baseline map is intended to be an iterative map for use as an indicator of the likelihood of koala occurrence. It is not a map of koala habitat. Koala occurrences represented in the baseline map are limited by the availability of existing data that has been entered into the Atlas of NSW Wildlife. The map will be updated periodically to reflect new records entered in the Atlas of NSW Wildlife for the previous 20-year period.

The outputs of the baseline map reflect the proportion of koala records relative to records for other common species. This allows the mapping to adjust for variation in observational effort across the landscape.

Evaluating the baseline map of koala occurrence

The baseline map of the likelihood of koala occurrence in NSW was evaluated by comparison with finer-scale regional mapping for draft and approved Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management (CKPoMs), and the Comprehensive Regional Assessment Aerial Photograph Interpretation (CRAFTi) Assessments koala habitat model (DOC 681KB) for north east NSW. The evaluation (PDF 4.8MB) assessed the extent of agreement between the different maps, and explored likely reasons for discrepancies. It also explored the advantages and limitations of each map product and ways to improve their use, particularly in their application to native forestry management and regulation. The evaluation found broad agreement between the baseline map and other koala mapping available for the NSW north coast.

Page last updated: 16 May 2016