This year has started with some exciting activity for Big Scrub Landcare, with site preparations officially starting on our genetically diverse rainforest seed plantation at Wollongbar. The last few weeks have seen a flurry of activity, with works familiar to us including arborist works and woody weed control and other activities not so familiar including soil preparations with specialist contractors and machinery. It’s not every day Big Scrub Landcare have heavy machinery on our restoration sites though this project is an exception!

A specialist contractor with a large tractor and mulcher (pictured) scarified rows with GPS-precision at even spacings across the entire length of our planation site. This work was completed in preparation for planting a nitrogen-fixing pea, known as Dolichos lablab, that will enhance soil nitrogen, microbial soil processes and nutrient cycling. These works are being implemented with advice and expertise from project partners, SoilCare Inc.

Through this work, Big Scrub Landcare are trialling innovative regenerative agriculture techniques, such as this, to improve soil health in preparation for our genetically diverse rainforest seed plantation. We aim to enhance soil health and carbon sequestration for some time prior to the planting of our “golden trees”, our rainforest tree species with optimal genetic diversity for restoration plantings.

Big Scrub Landcare President Dr Tony Parkes said, “These site preparations are an exciting step forward in our Science Saving Rainforests Program, it is a fantastic example of bringing together sustainable horticultural practices in a rainforest restoration context.”

“As far as we know this has not been done before, it is world-leading, unique and innovative science we are applying,” he says.

This project is being delivered as part of Big Scrub Landcare’s Science Saving Rainforests Program in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and other partners and supporters including NSW Department of Primary Industries, SoilCare Inc., NSW Environmental Trust and many others. The aim of the Program is to save from extinction and restore critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest and up to 30 of its threatened species.