A biodiversity leg up for Snowy Monaro bush country

By the end of Spring 2021, Upper Snowy Landcare and an ever expanding list of financial backers, on-ground partners and local volunteers will have invested a huge amount of environmental, financial and social capital into the dieback region of the Monaro.

We write this piece in a slightly quieter time and with the satisfaction that all the plants are receiving this amazing moisture. Here is a snapshot of what has happened to date.

Between 2016 and 2020 we established 27 plots of locally selected native tree and shrubs (orange dots in left-hand map).  Most plots received 1000 plants. We are madly monitoring these plots and will provide you all with a summary of the capacity of these plants to grow in this harsh landscape and which ones do best.

Speaking of this harsh but special landscape, all our plantings are effectively infilling previously cleared or dieback-affected woodland and never go into the precious native grasslands that are naturally treeless due to basalt geology (yellow areas in right-hand map). Approximately 14% of the Monaro used to be covered by native temperate grasslands: today, most of the original types have disappeared. All the rest used to be trees, trees, trees.

This year we are mid-way thorough a massive planting program.  Already we have planted out 4100 of the 4500 dieback restoration plot funded by CHEP on Coolringdon.  This was with the help of CHEP staff from Sydney who braved the rain and cold to come down and help. A further 2000 plants went into three new sites and another 500 bulked up some of our previous plantings. In Spring we are planting 2000 into an African Lovegrass affected patch down near Dalgety. In five short years we will have put in 31 biodiversity patches to help reconnect up the Monaro.

However, these plots really just scratch the ecological surface and that is why we have grants in the hat for carbon plots and fencing out large parcels of woodland to allow natural reboot of the bush country. We will keep you posted.