Why is revegetation important?
Since European settlement, land clearing for agriculture has led to the widespread destruction, modification, and fragmentation of Australia’s native vegetation (Atyeo and Thackway, 2009; Bennett and Saunders, 2010; Yates and Hobbs, 2000). These changes have occurred so quickly that plant and animal communities have had little time to adapt, leaving them vulnerable to extinction (Bauer and Goldney, 2000). Consequently, Australia rates high on the extinct species list, particularly for mammal extinctions, which over the past 200 years has been higher than any other continent (Cardillo and Bromham, 2001; Hobbs and Mooney, 1998; McConnon, 2015). One way of addressing our declining biodiversity is by revegetating farmlands previously cleared for agriculture (England et al., 2013; Vesk and Dorrough, 2006). Studies have shown that revegetation, which is structurally and floristically diverse, is important for conserving biodiversity because it provides nesting, perching and shelter for birds, microhabitats for seedling establishment, and sources of food and shelter for fauna (Collard et al., 2013; Munro et al., 2009). Effective conservation in rural environments also requires interconnected networks of native vegetation that together, have the capacity to support large populations of native flora and fauna (Bennett and MacNally, 2004). In this respect, revegetation can function as stepping stones or continuous corridors to allow movement between subpopulations, thus maximising the persistence of a species and minimising inbreeding depression (Bennett and Saunders, 2010; Hilty et al., 2006).