Migration Routes

The Great Eastern Ranges are an important link for many species that migrate on local, national and international scales. The mountainous regions and the woodlands of the inland slopes form a major network of habitats that support seasonal migrants from north to south and between lower and higher altitudes, nomadic movement patterns and seasonal dispersal of juveniles. In particular, the GER is important habitat for 37 significant migratory bird species which are listed under international migratory bird agreements. There are also many bird species that have been shown to migrate on smaller scales, to and from habitat in the Great Eastern Ranges, such as the vulnerable flame robin and the endangered swift parrot.

Bogong moths are another migratory species that use the GER. These moths migrate annually to the Southern Alps during summer and enter a dormant state in the caves and crevices of the highest mountains.

For many species, some form of migration may be their only chance of coping with increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. Temperatures in eastern Australia generally increase from south to north, whilst moisture increases from west to east. Because the GER corridor spans almost the whole north-south length of the continent, and includes a significant range of altitudes and well-protected habitats, it provides critical opportunities for native species to move in response to climate change.

Thus, species may be able to migrate along or across the GER to new areas, as habitats and food sources shift in response to changing climatic conditions. Alternatively, species may gradually move to higher altitudes within mountain ranges to escape from rising temperatures. These migrations may be seasonal, as for many birds, or a gradual, permanent shift in the home range of a species. To facilitate this movement, GER is working to improve connectivity within the GER corridor, through protection of existing habitat, restoration, revegetation and improved management of all land tenures.

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