The WOMADelaide Forest is the product of an award-winning partnership between Greening Australia and Arts Projects Australia, to offset the carbon emissions of the iconic music festival through diverse tree plantings in Southern Australia.
Since 2007, $2 from every WOMADelaide ticket has been invested in revegetation and carbon footprint analysis.
Already, over 70,000 native trees have been planted in the WOMADelaide Forest, offsetting 16,250 tonnes of carbon and providing habitat for many rare and threatened bird species, such as the Hooded Robin and Diamond Firetail. In 2008, 17 species of bird were recorded in the forest. By 2014 the number had grown to 70 species.
In addition to providing new homes for wildlife, the flourishing forest provides other valuable benefits for local communities, such as improving water quality, aiding pollination of crops, reducing soil erosion, and helping to regulate the climate.
To supplement the carbon offsetting program, Arts Projects Australia have also invested in a series of other initiatives to keep the festival environmentally-friendly, such as minimising waste, reducing energy consumption and installing solar lighting. The emissions that cannot be reduced are then offset.
The WOMADelaide Forest sits on ex-farming land in the Langhorne Creek region of South Australia.
Located on an ancient Woorinen sand dune system, the area is home to many rare and threatened bird species including the Mallee Fowl and Mallee Emu-wren.
The 65-hectare property also lies between two significant conservation areas, the Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park and the Bremer River. Over time, the forest will act as a ‘stepping-stone’ between the two areas, providing a bush corridor for native plants and animals, including many rare and threatened species.
“This site was chosen carefully because it sits between two significant areas of merit for conservation. It was identified as a priority area for revegetation on an ancient Woorinen sand dune which contains a population of the endangered Colour-spider Orchid.” Greening Australia Senior Ecologist, Paul Koch.
Greening Australia provides ongoing management of the forest to ensure the health of the plants and replace any failing seedlings.
Locally collected seed from native Mallee vegetation are used. Planting is undertaken in accordance with the Interim Australian Standards for Carbon Accounting for Greenhouse Sinks – Afforestation and Reforestation AS 4978. Greening Australia’s plantings for this project are Kyoto Protocol-compliant and are registered on the land title, further ensuring that the carbon offset will be permanently secure.
Now that the majority of the plants have been established, further funds will be used to deliver important maintenance and monitoring work by Greening Australia. These include weed control, fence line maintenance and reseeding, hand planting where required to maintain the bushland’s integrity, tree guarding and watering in drought conditions.