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Grassland Restoration at Scottsdale

A trial to restore degraded Box-Gum grassy woodlands is now in full bloom at Scottsdale Reserve in south-east NSW.

Scottsdale Reserve is a 1328 hectare former grazing property 5 km north of Bredbo, now owned by Bush Heritage Australia. We’ve been working with Bush Heritage to restore the native plant diversity and structure of Box-Gum grassy woodlands as part of the Patch Protection project – which is supported by the WOPR to Woodlands project funded by the Australian Government.

A year ago, this one hectare trial site was dominated by the highly invasive African Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). Back in April 2014 the weeds were sprayed and burned, and then the top 10cm of soil was scraped off to reduce the nutrient levels and get rid of any weed seeds in the soil. The site was then seeded with 11 native grass and 30 wildflower species, using a specialised grass-seeding machine.

By spring last year the seeds could be seen germinating, and by summer the site was a mass of beautiful wildflowers.

Of the 41 species that were originally seeded, 19 have been recorded as well as several other species that couldn’t be identified. There were also 18 exotic species germinating from seed either stored in the soil or blown in from elsewhere. Many more species are expected to emerge over the next year so we will continue to monitor the site.

This trial is one of several techniques being tested at Scottsdale to restore the threatened native grasslands and woodlands that would once have covered the eastern half of the reserve. We hope that these trials will help us find the best and most cost-effective method that can then be applied to much larger areas.

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