140 ha of native bushland restored in Central Victoria
It’s a clear sky, long-sleeve-big-hat kind of summer day in Central Victoria. Greenfleet Forester Eoghan O’Connor sets out to inspect 140 ha of native revegetation with his truck. As he drives down the hills of the property Eoghan starts to see seedlings poking their heads out over the dry, yellow grass. These young trees greeting his arrival are a good sign.
Between 2015 and 2016, Greenfleet planted approximately 91 kilograms of locally native seeds in the soil to give nature a helping hand.
A few centuries ago, a beautiful native forest would have been growing here. However, European settlement has had a substantial impact on much of the vegetation through grazing, agriculture and gold mining as the area was significant in Victoria’s gold mining history. Past land uses have contributed to land fragmentation, as well as region-wide problems of pest plants and animals, salinity and soil erosion*.
Piecing together the fragmented landscape
After being used for sheep grazing, this low-productivity farm with its high slopes, rocky outcrops and low-medium annual rainfall, was recently purchased by Greenhouse Balanced – an organisation which purchases parcels of land, places conservation covenants on significant bushland for long-term protection, while redistributing or consolidating other parts to maintain and enhance useable agricultural land. Paul Dettman, one of the duo behind the organisation, sees himself “as a bit of a quilt maker. I’m always looking for the bits and pieces that can be sewn together to better support the landscape,” he explained.
Our growing forest is another piece of the patchwork that Greenfleet and Greenhouse Balanced are piecing together in Central Victoria. Landscape fragmentation threatens many native species, with isolated populations more vulnerable to environmental fluctuations – such as drought and extreme weather events. Together, we’re connecting the landscape and creating vegetation corridors in the region.
Extending habitat for threatened species
Adjoining the property is Kara Kara National Park. The park is of great significance as it protects one of the most intact remnants of Victoria’s Box-Ironbark forests, unique to Australia. Over 200 native vertebrate animal species have been recorded in the park, of which 21 are considered threatened. The park is particularly important for the protection of the nationally endangered Swift Parrot and is also a stronghold for large hollow-dwelling birds of prey, including the Barking Owl and Powerful Owl*.
As it grows, our forest is extending habitat for native flora and fauna, providing an additional 145 ha of land for the species to thrive on – that’s about the size of Melbourne CBD.
During his recent visit, Eoghan was thrilled with the progress and growth of the trees. “There is an excellent amount of eucalypts across the site. The removal of sheep has seen wildflowers return as well as more of natural germination. Some of the trees are already one metre in height!” Eoghan commented.
“In the coming years, we will go back and plant seedlings in the few patches of low germination. This will ensure forest coverage over the revegetated area,” Eoghan added.
Acting against climate change
The forest is also playing a key role against climate change. Over the next 100 years, the trees will absorb more than 45,000 tonnes of CO2-e from the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to taking 10,500 average medium-sized cars off the road for a year.
Just like our 425+ other forests, this reforestation project is entirely funded by our supporters, who work with us to offset their carbon emissions. “We are able to restore native ecosystems around Australia and New Zealand, and tackle climate change thanks to the contributions of our amazing supporters,” said Greenfleet CEO Wayne Wescott.
“Year after year, thousands of individuals and organisations help Greenfleet plant more native forests to offset their carbon emissions and it’s their continuous support which makes a huge difference to the environment,” Wayne added.
Invest in climate action with genuine and lasting environmental benefits today by offsetting your own carbon emissions as an individual or business and join the growing movement of #GreenfleetSupporters and climate action takers.
* Source: Parks Victoria Park Management Plan 2013
140 ha just west of the Kara Kara National Park in Central Victoria
- Canopy species:
- Grey Box
- Long Leaved Box
- Red Box
- Red Stringybark
- River Red Gum
- Yellow Gum
- Midstorey species:
- Drooping Sheoak
- Golden Wattle
- Hedge Wattle
- Silver Wattle
- Varnish Wattle
- Understorey species:
- Gold Dust Wattle
- Giant Hop Bush
- Slaty Sheoak
- Spreading Wattle
- Wedge Leaf Hopbush