Restoring the foundations of an endangered woodland

Harry Madigan, whose family owns Kelton Plain, the site where the Upper Snowy Landcare Network will implement its project using funding from the CHEP Land Management and Sustainable Agriculture Landcare Grant.

With $60,000 in funding from the inaugural CHEP Australia Land Management and Sustainable Agriculture Landcare Grant, the Upper Snowy Landcare Network will be planting 4,500 native trees and shrubs to restore the foundations of an endangered woodland.  

The project site is five hectares of grazing land on Kelton Plain, an historic Monaro property adjacent to Kosciuszko Road, the main highway to the New South Wales ski fields. This farmland area has been gradually eroded, due to land clearing, dieback, weed invasion and soil-compaction caused by previous over-grazing.

The return of trees and shrubs will help restore the original grassy woodland community and increase biodiversity, resulting in the return of ecosystem functions and services. 

“Planting such a substantial number of native trees will benefit agricultural productivity in this area and adjacent lands.

“It will also restore habitat to native birds, bats and marsupials, including some of the 46 species that are listed as vulnerable or endangered in NSW and rely on woodland habitat for survival and reproduction,” said Margaret Mackinnon, Chair of the Upper Snowy Landcare Network.

On a larger scale, the plantation will provide a stepping-stone for animals and birds to move across the landscape. This will help address habitat fragmentation arising from agricultural activity and dieback that is a key threat to species loss.

The return of ground litter and lack of disturbance arising from the plantation will also help to control invasion of weeds, especially African Lovegrass, a significant threat to the grazing productivity in the central Monaro area.

Harry Madigan, whose family owns Kelton Plain said, “It’s the hope of bringing the ecosystem back into balance that makes the success of this project so important. Hopefully in my lifetime I will be able to see wildflowers and eucalypts in full bloom, just like my mother experienced when she was young.” 

Site preparation including fencing, ripping and spraying is set to begin in November with planting scheduled for May 2021. A portion of the planting will occur at a community field day, demonstrating to landholders and other community members the methodology for tree planting under Monaro conditions. This will enable them to replicate Upper Snowy Landcare Network’s example on their own land.

Creatives Lines, a local Eden-Monaro indigenous team with a clear commitment to restoring land to its former condition and ecological health, has been selected as the project’s planting contractor.

CHEP’s ongoing partnership with Landcare Australia is just one aspect of their overall commitment to sustainability. Lis Mannes, Executive General Manager for CHEP Australia said, “We’re proud to support this program and the regeneration of Australia’s valuable land and water assets. This is another small step forward in positive outcomes for our environment and the communities in which we live.”

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