Plants ready to be planted
This is a defining step forward for the Tasmanian Midlands but we aren’t out of the woods yet, so to speak. Our juvenile forest still faces the issue of browsing by native and introduced animals. Tasmania has seen an explosion in the feral deer population who rub their horns on the young trees, smashing or ringbarking them before they are big enough to withstand it.
Where we had uncaged test sites, trees were heavily browsed and reduced to a few sticks poking out of the ground by large herds of deer. There is also a threat from possums that live in surrounding woodlands and feed on the new seedlings at night. In addition, farmers are understandably keen to graze their animals on the restored sites meaning they face a threat from sheep browsing.
To counteract these risks our Tassie team have become expert cage builders, developing numerous cage designs to house the young trees while they grow:
The issue we’re now facing is water. Those blue skies made the planting a lot more enjoyable than it could have been but rain is needed. We have had exceptionally dry conditions in the midlands for winter and spring, and the long-range forecast is not very promising.
The good news is that at the moment most of the young trees are looking well with some new green shoots, but even with all our hard work, the success of our grassy woodlands planting campaign will hang on the whim of the weather.
Time to cross your fingers please.
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