Update: Camphor conversion to rainforest project

Stage 2 of Enhancing remnants, linkages and corridors across the Big Scrub, funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, is nearing completion. This project has successfully been converting mixed Camphor Laurel /rainforest stands back to rainforest over 3 years to expand and enhance critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest and improve linkages between remnants. Over 12ha of Camphor Laurel and other weeds have been converted across nine properties.

The final year of the project involved comprehensive follow up work across areas treated in years 1 and 2. This involved hand weeding and/or cut and painting larger stems of Lantana, Tobacco bush, Giant Devils Fig, Small-leaved Privet and vine weeds. Ground layer infestations of Broad-leaved Paspalum and Mistflower, various annuals as well as seedlings of all woody weeds and exotic vines were sprayed with targeted herbicide. Existing rainforest trees such as Red Cedar, Cudgerie, Maidens Blush and Bangalow Palm have continued to grow and expand following removal of the competitive effect of dense stands of Camphor Laurel, with germination of rainforest pioneers including Native Peach, Red Cedar and Bleeding Heart.

Participating landholders demonstrated commitment to restoring lowland rainforest by working alongside bush regenerators, as well as funding additional bush regeneration and revegetation works with their own resources

An inspiring final day of on ground work was undertaken at Chendana in June where stands of Camphor Laurel and other woody weeds have been transformed to vibrant rainforest.  Landowners Ernesto and Benjamin work most days on the property contributing to the success of the project. Ernesto described some of challenges and inspirations experienced since moving to the property ten years ago “We moved to the Northern Rives because we wanted to be closer to nature, we are inspired by the abundance of wildlife living on the land and the beautiful natural setting. The challenge is the continuous management of weeds that appear on our land from various sources. There is cost and time involved in managing it which can be challenging for us at times.  Being part of the project has been a phenomenal experience for us both as we’ve learned to identify native and non-native species of plants. It has also taught us how to manage weeds on our property. The project has also given us a great sense of community. It’s been wonderful getting to know and work with all the members of the bush regeneration team. We are forever grateful for the skills, experience and support that the Bush regeneration team, Big Scrub Landcare and funding bodies have provided”

This Project has been assisted by funding from the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

Thank you to Envite Environment for contributing this update.

Photo: Ernesto and Envite Bush regenerators survey an area that was once dominated by woody weeds and is now regenerating rainforest.