Contributed by Georgina Jones, Secretary, Big Scrub Landcare. 

Big Scrub Landcare has completed a successful 6 year project funded by the NSW Environmental Trusts Community Bush Regeneration Large Project Stream – Rehabilitating & Restoring Endangered Lowland Subtropical Rainforest, which involved restoring critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest at 3 sites at Rocky Creek Dam and Nightcap National Park.

This project enabled Big Scrub Landcare and its partner organisations to successfully improve connectivity and the ongoing health and resilience of over 50 ha of remnant Big Scrub Rainforest and its threatened species habitat. This was done in two areas of Nightcap National Park at Minyon Falls and Big Scrub Flora Reserve and in the Rous Rainforest & Water Reserve at Rocky Creek Dam.

Initial work was undertaken controlling large tracts of lantana and other environmental weeds that were threatening  lowland subtropical rainforest. Ongoing stages of bush regeneration controlled the germination and growth of weeds. Natural regeneration of rainforest in response to bush regeneration work has been excellent as illustrated by some regenerating areas achieving 100% canopy and mid-storey cover of native species where originally the majority of cover was weeds.

The transformation of project areas from high levels of weed infestation to diverse young regenerating lowland rainforest is dramatic and impressive.

Some of the threatened species directly benefiting from work in project areas include pink underwing moth (Phyllodes imperialis), red bobble nut (Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia), arrowhead vine (Tinospora tinosporoides), and red lilly pilly (Syzygium hodgkinsoniae).

The project has engaged over 7000 community and Landcare members through: The Big Scrub Rainforest Day; field days and community plantings with 7030 trees planted during the course of the project; raising awareness about the Big Scrub; and building capacity to protect and restore this important vegetation community

Project partners include Envite Environment, NSW NPWS, Rous County Council and Bangalow River and Landcare.