Travel 30 minutes north of Wedderburn in Central Victoria and you will find Pearson; a 340-hectare property that forms part of the Wychitella biolink. In an area previously used for farming, Greenfleet is working with the traditional custodians of the land, the Dja Dja Wurrung people, and Cassinia Environmental to revegetate the property with native trees and grasses. By working with the traditional owners on this project, we are aiming to create vegetation links across this country.
In 2020, Greenfleet planted out 114 hectares of this property with 13,000 native seedlings and 60kg of native seeds. This project aims to restore the native ecosystem in the area and increase overall biodiversity and resilience. Work will resume in 2021 to continue the conservation effort by planting even more native trees.
As well as the reforestation on this property, we are undertaking other activities to assist in the area’s restoration. In many parts of central Victoria, there is an issue with introduced Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta) that are an aggressive pest wherever they grow. One solution to this problem is to individually stab each cactus with a herbicide so that they are unable to spread further. While it may sound like an unusual practice, cactus stabbing plays an important part in ensuring the native tree species we plant in the area have the best chance of survival.
Some of the native species we’ve planted so far include Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora),Varnish Wattle (Acacia verniciflua) and Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa). In 2021, additional parts of the property will be planted out with native Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) and Yam Daisy (Myrnong).
Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu, utilises traditional agricultural farming methods to harvest plants such as these at his Victorian farm near Mallacoota. Bruce is of Bunurong and Tasmanian heritage and his work centres around the fact Indigenous Australians were skilled agriculturalists and not solely hunters and gatherers. He wants to bring indigenous communities together to cultivate bush tucker once again.
Kangaroo grass is perennial, and its seeds can be harvested much like grain to be made into flour for products such as bread. As a native plant, it is resilient to drought and extreme variances in temperature which is important for a climate such as central Victoria. The seeds can also be used in a traditional ceremonial context. The Yam Daisy’s roots can be used as a vegetable in many dishes, including desserts, making a versatile food source.
Another benefit that comes with the restoration of this ecosystem is creating habitat for many of the local wildlife species, playing a vital role in reconnecting parts of the Wychitella Biolink. Some of the species known to the area are Lace monitors, Quolls and the vulnerable Mallee Fowl. Other native and endangered bird species can be found in the area as well, including Shy Heathwrens and Inland Thornbills.
You can read about another of our projects in the Wedderburn area at the Nardoo Hills Reserve, here.