Koalas in the Big Scrub

With mass eucalypt plantings on land that was once Big Scrub rainforest increasing, Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy is calling for a measured approach to koala habitat creation in North-Eastern NSW.

In consultation with Friends of the Koala, leading ecologists and other community conservation organisations, we’ve created a short film and other resources exploring the conservation dilemma of Koalas in the Big Scrub.

Mark Dunphy holding rainforest tree seedlings in nursery

Koalas in the Big Scrub Panel Discussion

At an event during November 2023’s Big Scrub Rainforest Day Celebrations, Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy, Friends of the Koala and over 200 members of the Northern Rivers community gathered to discuss Koalas in the Big Scrub.

A panel of ecologists and threatened species management specialists discussed the dilemma of caring for koalas that reside on land where a critically endangered rainforest once grew – an ecosystem that is home to 9 species of fauna that are as or more endangered than the koala.

The panel also explored the fire danger of planting large eucalypt populations near urban areas and rainforest remnants, as well as the history of eucalypt plantings that unnaturally increased koala populations near the Big Scrub.

Watch the panel discussion below.

In-depth Analysis of Eucalypt Plantings

The guiding principle of ecological restoration is to restore the plants and animal communities that once occurred on the site. The Society for Ecological Restoration states as its first principle: “conservation, repair and renewal of the local native ecosystem”. (SERA, 2018).

For further background on this issue, read our in-depth analysis of the history of eucalypts in the Big Scrub, survival factors and associated risks. 

Show_Subtropical_Rainforest _Restoration_cover

Press Information and Media Release

BANGALOW – January 2024 – Large public and private funding programs have created a surge in mass plantings of fire-prone eucalypts on land that was once home to the critically endangered Big Scrub rainforest, threatening the recovery of local native endangered flora and fauna.

“Without significant rainforest habitat expansion many of the threatened species of the Big Scrub will join the too-long list of other rainforest species in extinction. We are in full support of koala funding, but firmly believe this funding should not be used at the expense of other endangered ecosystems or species.”

Mark Dunphy, President, Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy

Big Scrub Threatened Species

The Big Scrub is built from over 450 species of flora, of which over 40 are classified as threatened in NSW (around 20 are endangered or critically endangered) and is home to over 60 threatened species of fauna (9 are endangered or critically endangered).

Albert's Lyrebird


Wompoo Fruit Dove


Red-legged Pademelon


Spotted-tailed Quoll


Coxen's Fig Parrot

Critically Endangered

Regent Honeyeater

Critically Endangered