The trees and shrubs we’ve planted through WOMADelaide extend the positive impact of this festival well beyond its yearly four-day program.
As of the end of 2021, the WOMADelaide forests now cover over 85 hectares on Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk Country in South Australia. The trees and shrubs not only store carbon in their trunks, branches and roots, they also provide food and shelter for our iconic wildlife.
In 2022, we are partnering with the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board to bring the WOMADelaide forests to southern Fleurieu Peninsula, supporting the Back from the Brink Project.
With the offset funds, we plan to plant 17 hectares of shrubland and woodland heath to 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).
There’ll be an opportunity for community volunteers to help out with this year’s planting. Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when registration for the planting day opens.
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.
Over the 15 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.
In the past few years we planted on Kangaroo Island, where we established groves of Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) to support the local population of the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo.
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.
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.
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.
Mick has been working in South Australia for Greening Australia since 2001, initially as a member and supervisor with the Environmental Services Unit team, then as a community support officer in the SA Murraylands, and currently as Land and Restoration Lead for South Australia. Mick has excellent knowledge of the vegetation associations of the Southern Agricultural Districts of South Australia. He has an interest in native plants and enjoys working with passionate individuals, landholders and organisations to undertake large-scale restoration within the unique landscapes of South Australia.