Scarlet Robin. Photo by Julie Clark
Box Gum Woodlands have been heavily cleared across inland south-eastern Australia, and as a result are nationally recognised as critically endangered.
The ACT is lucky to have a high proportion of relatively intact, large and well connected woodland remnants, but there has still been extensive clearing, with serious ramifications for plants and animals.
Knowledge and concern about the decline of woodland by the community and researchers led to a significant project partnership between Greening Australia, ACT, and Australian Governments to restore and relink threatened woodland ecosystems across the territory.
To date, we have worked across 5,000 hectares of Box Gum Woodland on private and public land, close to one third of the area covered by this woodland type in the state.
The ACT Woodlands Restoration Program forms part of a larger program to protect and enhance Box Gum Woodland, including the Greater Goorooyarroo area which straddles the border with NSW.
Some of the significant project achievements that have been made to date include:
An important focus of the project has been an enhancement of existing woodland patches and revegetation of large cleared areas with woodland plants to reconnect remnant patches in priority locations.
The local community has been integral to the project. Fifteen Landcare and Parkcare groups have been involved, running community and corporate planting days, and landholders have undertaken work on their properties such as fencing, weed control and looking after plants. Volunteers at Greening Australia’s nursery have also assisted by propagating, weeding and thinning the planted seedlings.
Aboriginal land management and plant use have been a major focus of the project and has led to the recruitment of Indigenous Engagement and Training officer, Adam Shipp. Adam has brought an Indigenous perspective to on-ground works and provided environmental and cultural learning opportunities for the community, such as involving school groups in woodland walks and bush tucker activities. Many of these schools have subsequently enhanced their school grounds with local woodland species, and established bush tucker gardens of their own to continue the environmental and cultural learning process.
The ACT Woodlands Restoration Program is now focusing on maintenance of existing sites to ensure quality long term outcomes, completion of works and monitoring. Current funding will finish in 2017, but we are seeking additional funding to enable us to continue this important partnership.
The successful project was recognised with an ACT Landcare Award in 2015 and is currently in line for a 2016 National Landcare Award. To vote in the peoples’ choice for the ACT Woodland Restoration Program click here.