Big Scrub Landcare would like to acknowledge the NSW Environmental Trust for supporting our project Restoring Critically Endangered Lowland Subtropical Rainforest over the past 2 years. This funding has built on Big Scrub Landcare’s long term program to restore critically endangered lowland rainforest. This involves rehabilitating remnants of critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest and restoring lowland subtropical rainforest on cleared ex-rainforest land in partnership with landholders and the community. Lowland rainforest condition, connectivity, resilience to climate change and habitat values have been enhanced through restoration works. Project activities over the past 2 years have made a significant contribution to improving the condition and resilience of 43 Big Scrub critically endangered lowland rainforest remnants and restoration areas across a total of 518ha.
Bush regeneration works have included staged control of Lantana, Tobacco Bush, Giant Devils Fig, Small and Large-leaved Privet and other woody weeds, vine weeds (Madeira Vine, Cats Claw Creeper, Climbing Asparagus and White Passionflower), annuals and exotic grasses across sites. These weeds are the major threat to the future survival of critically endangered Lowland Rainforest of Subtropical Australia and control is essential to sustain the habitat provided for threatened flora and fauna. Rainforest health and structure of remnants is improving with native plants replacing weed species.
The unprecedented wet weather events of Feb/Mar 2022 meant some sites situated along riparian areas were impacted with significant bank/vegetation damage and flood debris deposits. Landslips inhibited access to some of our restoration sites, however, we were able to redirect work to other remnants.
While the flood situation caused services/supply shortages, site preparation work for the Science Saving Rainforests living seedbank plantation has progressed. Numerous large camphor laurel trees have been removed from the site and weed control undertaken around remnant native vegetation. We expect to have seed available shortly for resowing the plantation rows with a soil-enhancing green manure crop (including species such as lab-lab, vetch, sorghum and millet). We are also planning in the coming months to undertake our next round of soil testing to gauge how our soil improvement efforts for the plantation are tracking.
Big Scrub Landcare would also like to announce that we have been successful in receiving a NSW Environmental Trust Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation grant to support our project Facilitating the restoration of two endangered rainforest communities and the recovery of 36 of their threatened species. This project will facilitate the recovery of 550 hectares of endangered lowland subtropical rainforest, 33 hectares of endangered rainforest on floodplain, and 36 of their threatened species that are priority species in the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species Program. Key activities of this project are weed control, monitoring, and community engagement. This much needed support will help us save from extinction the magnificent Big Scrub Rainforest and allow future generations to also enjoy its splendour.
These projects have been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.