Greentrees

Reconnecting habitat and protecting a population of koalas

Greenfleet is establishing a native forest on the floodplain of the Wilson River in Northern NSW, and extending vital habitat for a breeding population of koalas.

Located on Bundjalung Country, this region has been extensively cleared for agricultural purposes. Landholders Alex and Kylie purchased this land motivated to make a positive environmental impact. Living on the property with their children Jaime and Erin, Alex reflected that all along they “wanted to create habitat and contribute to the restoration of biodiversity.”

Greenfleet’s aim is to support the restoration of native forest across the property and increase biodiversity. This forest will take climate action while also playing a critical role in extending habitat for the region’s endangered koalas.

Located near Lismore in Northern NSW, the council has identified that this property contains particularly important biodiversity values. The planting is located adjacent to land identified as Primary and Secondary Koala Habitat and a priority wildlife corridor where the existing koala population is prolific.

Greenfleet began revegetating the property in 2021 and will return in 2022 to continue the reforestation efforts. With cattle grazing occurring in surrounding properties, this revegetation work will reconnect pockets of existing koala. By improving connectivity between the Pelican Flood Reserve and an adjoining quarry Koala Reserve, Greenfleet is also contributing to the expansion and sustainability of key koala populations.

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When Alex and Kylie moved onto the property, they counted at least 15 koalas living in the remnant vegetation on the property and Alex suggests there could be hundreds in the surrounding areas. This population of koalas is also believed to be disease free, meaning that this project is developing habitat for a key breeding population of the species.

Of the nearly 4,000 native trees that have been planted so far, almost half of them will provide food and habitat for koalas. One of the indigenous species, Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), makes up 30% of the trees planted and is a key food source for these iconic animals.

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Part of the revegetation site at Greentrees. In the background, you can see remnant vegetation that will be extended through this project.

Part of the revegetation site at Greentrees. In the background, you can see remnant vegetation that will be extended through this project.

Additional to the restoration of koala habitat, this project will restore the Coastal Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca) ecological community, which can be found along the coast of Northern New South Wales and into south-east Queensland1. To help maintain and extend this ecosystem, we are planting indigenous species on the flood plains of the property where it naturally occurs.

So far, more than 20 different endemic species have been chosen for this project including Coastal Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca), Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) and Prickly-leaf Teatree (Melaleuca stypheloides).

Protected for 100 years, we know that the forest at Greentrees will make a long-term impact beyond this century, but we hope to see the positive impacts much sooner through the restoration of ecosystems and habitat. We anticipate that the trees planted in 2021 will become established koala habitat in approximately 6 years’ time.

As it grows, this forest will also take critical climate action by capturing carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, over its lifetime this forest will capture nearly 13,000 tonnes of CO2-e which is the equivalent of what 3,000 cars emit on our roads each year.

Restoring native forests is an important part of taking action against the climate crisis. Another significant and long-term benefit of this work is that we are also creating habitat for Australia’s iconic koalas and other wildlife that will grow for generations to come.

References:

  1. Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment  

Location size

7.3 hectares in Northern New South Wales

Planting dates

2021, 2022

Species

  1. Acacia maidenii
  2. Alphitonia excelsa
  3. Angophora floribunda
  4. Casuarina glauca
  5. Commersonia bartramia
  6. Eucalyptus tereticornis
  7. Ficus coronata
  8. Mallotus philippensis
  9. Melaleuca quinquinervia
  10. Melaleuca saligna
  11. Melaleuca stypheloides
  12. Melaleuca viminalis
  13. Acacia melanoxylon
  14. Corymbia intermedia
  15. Cupaniopsis anarcardioides
  16. Eucalyptus microcorys
  17. Eucalyptus robusta
  18. Eucalyptus saligna
  19. Flindersia bennettii
  20. Grevillea robusta
  21. Lophostemon confertus
  22. Macaranga tanarius