Nature in Cities

WOMADelaide Forests

The WOMADelaide Forests are the result of a long-running, award-winning partnership between Greening Australia and The WOMADelaide Foundation, to measure the iconic music festival’s carbon emissions footprint, and plant carbon-storing native trees and shrubs to offset it.

Since 2007, $2 from every ticket sold has been invested back into plantings to rebuild biodiverse native forests, woodlands and heathlands in regional South Australia.

The trees and shrubs not only store carbon in their trunks, branches and roots as they grow, they also provide food and shelter for our iconic wildlife – extending the positive impact of WOMADelaide far beyond its yearly four-day program.

The WOMADelaide forests now cover more than 107 hectares on Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk Country in South Australia.

Most recently in 2022 and 2023, Greening Australia and WOMADelaide partnered with the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board and National Park and Wildlife Service SA – and local community – to restore over 20 hectares of woodland heath on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.

These plantings will help the endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and the critically endangered Beautiful Firetail Finch (as well as many other local flora and fauna).

Beautiful Firetail Finch. Photo credit David Cook CC-BY-NC 2.0

How does offsetting the festival work?

The WOMADelaide Foundation have invested in a series of initiatives to keep the festival environmentally-friendly, such as minimising waste, reducing energy consumption and installing solar lighting (read more in our Q&A with the festival’s sustainability officer). The emissions that cannot be reduced are then offset.

The carbon dioxide emissions from the WOMADelaide event are calculated, including from transport, energy and accommodation. Then Greening Australia calculates the number of hectares of revegetation required to re-capture the carbon dioxide emissions – and we plant!

As the revegetated sites establish, the carbon dioxide sequestered increases quickly until the woodlands mature at about 25 years.


Where are the WOMADelaide Forests?

Over the many years of this partnership between Greening Australia and the WOMADelaide Foundation, we’ve planted in a few different places.

The forests WOMADelaide has built include plantings in Hartley, Langhorne Creek and Kangaroo Island and Southern Fleurieu areas of South Australia.

The largest planting site of 50 hectares is located at Langhorne Creek between the Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park and the Bremer River. This plantation has now matured into a functioning Mallee woodland, which was supporting 70 bird species at last count. This segment from Gardening Australia gives a great ‘drone’s eye view’ of this particular WOMADelaide Forest.


How do you ensure you’re creating quality habitat?

Greening Australia has a vision to help people and nature thrive and all our plantings are planned and designed to benefit local biodiversity, including threatened species where appropriate.

We also undertake a rigorous process to ensure the carbon emissions from each festival are offset in real and quantifiable terms. All planting is consistent with the Environmental Plantings Methodology under the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative Act.

Back in 2010, Greening Australia filmed the seed collection, plant propagation, direct seeding and planting of the seedlings for the WOMADelaide forest – you might be interested to watch this and see the effort we put into ensuring our plantings are locally suited, diverse, and high quality.

Once we’ve planted, we continue to manage the WOMADelaide forests to ensure they are functioning as intended and providing habitat for native species.

And we’ve found these plantings do provide habitat for many native animals, including kangaroos, echidnas, woodland birds such the Diamond Firetail, and threatened birds such as the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black Cockatoo. For example, in 2008, 17 bird species were recorded in the young mainland forest, and by 2014 this number had grown to 70 species.

Besides habitat, the growing WOMADelaide forests provide other valuable benefits for people and nature too, such as improving water quality, supporting pollinators, reducing soil erosion, and helping regulate the climate.

Read More

The award-winning partnership between Greening Australia and the WOMADelaide Foundation shows what can be achieved if we all work together to reduce our impact and look after the planet – and each other.
If you have any questions about this partnership, or would like to explore partnering with Greening Australia, please send us an online query.

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