Skullbone Plains - worth protecting

Skullbone Plains | Photo Matt Newton Tasmanian Land Conservancy

My first trip to Skullbone Plains in Tasmania’s central highlands — and what an outstanding place!

It was an amazing experience helping out scientists who had such a wealth of knowledge about the plants and animals they work with — often telling at a glance which species were common and which might be rare or even a new discovery.

The days were long with most of the Bush Blitz team out early and back in after midnight — squeezing as much as they could out of the opportunity to find, collect and document the plants and animals that make their home on Skullbone Plains.

And there was much to see — I was lucky enough to see a Tassie devil, as well as a few spotted quolls and, of course, wombats. At night the plains are so full of possums and pademelons (also known as rufous wallabies) that the driving time was reduced to about 10 kilometres an hour.

Skullbone Plains in Tasmania's central highlands. Photo: Matthew Newton

Bush Blitz provides a great opportunity for scientists from different disciplines to work together in the field and share their knowledge.

The five-day scientific survey of Skullbone Plains is confirming what we already suspected — that this reserve has outstanding biodiversity values which are worth protecting. The results of the survey will provide a benchmark for the condition of the area which will allow us to assess the impact of threats such as climate change later on.

Importantly, Bush Blitz is contributing to our understanding of the importance of protected areas and the National Reserve System and is providing information essential to good management of the reserves.

See ABC’s 7.30 Report story on the Skullbone Plains Bush Blitz here.

Leanne Wilks National Reserve System team

Bush Blitz is a multi-million dollar continental biodiversity discovery partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia that aims to document the plants and animals across Australia’s National Reserve System.

Skullbone Plains is a recent addition to the National Reserve System that is managed for conservation by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.