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Koala Trees - Many species of eucalypts grow in Queensland but only those species detailed below are koala food trees

Detailed below is some information about koala food trees which you may find useful.  Please source the tube stock from local nurserys such as they source local seed from trees endemic to the area and the plants are all reasonably priced as well.

If you are just creating a regional ecosystem then other endemic native species will accompany the koala food trees providing middle canopy vegetation, shrubs and then ground cover.  Again if growing koala food trees just on your property mix the koala food trees with other natives including wattle to improve soil quality and micro flora and callistemons to tempt birds onto the property to predate on bad insects.

Many species of eucalypts grow in Queensland but only those species detailed below are koala food trees.   Koala food trees are divided into primary and secondary species.  Primary species contain all the essential nutrients balanced in such a way as to maintain optimal health.  Secondary species are usually found growing on marginal land where leaf nutrient levels and moisture content are lower.  The reasons for the variation in nutrient levels relates to the soil profile and rainfall.  The thick nutrient rich soils of the coastal fringes provide higher nutrient levels and all of the primary species grow in various locations in SEQ.  Higher densities of koalas are found on the coast compared to inland koala populations and they are generally healthier.

Further inland marginal secondary koala food tree species dominate the landscape that is also dotted with some primary species that grow predominantly along creek lines and around dams or other water courses.  

Adult koalas and joeys will chose species that vary from one location to another according to what grows in their home range.  Koalas can survive entirely from the primary species but cannot maintain optimal health eating only secondary species. Adults will preferentially use different species.  For example, Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) is not eaten by joeys until they become sub adults.

Once a koala joey becomes an adult (the size of a football or larger) they will then eat whatever is available.  Koalas with Chlamydial disease will often be found eating from food trees with lower phenol and tannin levels such as Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) and if suffering from digestive problems will selectively chose leaves from the broad leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia).

Regarding the species list, a greater variety would be preferable particularly in relation to insect predation.  Koala joeys will not eat swamp mahogany until they are around 3 kilos.  Tallow will only be eaten by youngsters in winter and if there is tip.  Adults require primary and secondary species.  If you plant only primary and a disease goes through the plantation or fungus affects the trees then they all go.  Detailed below is a list used by Koala Action Inc. to successfully plant 5 plantations over the years.  I recommend from the perspective of adults and juveniles that you use this as a base.  Favouring tereticornis, then propinqua, robusta and a smaller number of microcorys all of which are primary.  Then share out the rest amongst the secondaries.  

   Qld Blue Gum, Eucalyptus tereticornis, primary species;
   Narrow-leaf Ironbark, Eucalyptus crebra, primary species;
   Tallow Wood, Eucalyptus microcorys, primary species;
   Small-fruited Grey Gum, Eucalyptus propinqua, primary species;
   Swamp Mahogany, Eucalyptus robusta, primary species;

   Spotted Gum, Corymbia citriodora, secondary species;
   Large-leaf Spotted Gum, Corymbia henryi, secondary species;
   Pink Bloodwood, Corymbia intermedia, secondary species;
   Large-fruited Grey Gum, Eucalyptus biturbinata, secondary species;
   Grey Ironbark, Eucalyptus siderophloia, secondary species;
   Rose Gum; Eucalyptus grandis, secondary species;
   Gum-topped Box, Eucalyptus mollucana, secondary species;
   Blackbutt, Eucalyptus pilularis, secondary species;
   Scribbly Gum, Eucalyptus racemosa, secondary species;
   Red Mahogany, Eucalyptus resinifera, secondary species;
   Sydney Blue Gum, Eucalyptus saligna, secondary species;
   Narrow-leaf Red Gum, Eucalyptus seeana, secondary species;
   Grey Ironbark, Eucalyptus siderophloia, secondary species;
   Brush Box, Lophostemon confertus, secondary species;
   Broad-leaved Paperbark, Melaleuca quinquinervia, medicinal tree.

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