Tree hollows are a valuable and essential resource for many native species. Wildlife is dependent on them for shelter from the weather, protection from predators and as breeding and socializing sites. Many species use several tree hollows.
Removal of hollow bearing trees from an area can lead to the displacement and death of the species dependant on these hollows. In turn this leads to localised extinction and loss of biodiversity. This leads to loss of insect eating species and pollinators, which are a great friend to agriculture.
A range of hollow types is necessary and many species prefer tree hollows in large dead trees. This highlights the importance of retaining dead trees. Hollows in fallen trees are important for on ground dependant species such as echidnas, quolls, bandicoots and many different lizards and reptiles.
As trees age hollows are formed. It takes approximately 100 years to form small hollows, and medium sized hollows can take up to 200 years. If the larger hollow bearing trees are removed it takes nature a very long time to replace them. It takes almost 300 years to form the larger hollows required by many of our owls, raptors and black cockatoos. Therefore it is essential to consider tree hollows as an important part of our ecosystem.
We can all help by retaining any live or dead hollow bearing trees, fallen trees on the ground and in creeks, by planting tree species which produce hollows, and by building and installing several different type nest boxes. Potoroo Palace is home to quite a few native species who have happily adapted to human designed equivalents of tree hollows. Examples of these can be viewed inside the animal enclosures and inspiration can be found in a special nest box display area close to the train station.