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A spectacular regeneration showcase
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A spectacular regeneration showcase

A revegetation project in bushfire-ravaged Kinglake National Park has helped an endangered marsupial find its home again – all with the help of an ingenious use of waste logs.

After devastating bushfires swept through Kinglake National park in February 2009, 98 per cent of the native habitat was burnt.

This habitat had been home to the threatened Brush Tailed Phascogale, a rat-sized marsupial known to the Aboriginal people as tuans.

Parks Victoria and Greenfleet struck up a partnership to plant a habitat link between Kinglake National Park and the nearby Warrandyte State Park. This wildlife corridor would encourage the Phascogale and other native species to move back into the burnt forest from the unburnt when the habitat could support them.

Greenfleet and Parks Victoria worked together to plant a species-rich mix of trees, shrubs and grasses that have restored conditions favoured by the Phascogale, as well as other species such as the Common Dunnart (which is no longer as common as the name suggests).

After the fires, many people wanted to help build back the community, but weren’t sure how to contribute in a meaningful way,” says Tony Fitzgerald, the ranger overseeing this section of Kinglake National Park.

Everyone could get involved in this replanting project. Together, we held more than 450 volunteer days – and everyone from corporate teams to school groups got involved.”

While the tree planting was underway, Tony came up with a clever use of fire-damaged logs.

So many trees were damaged in the fires and were dangerous. These trees had to be removed – and the result was more than 15,000 cubic metres of logs that had to be cleared.

While some of these logs were dispersed as firewood or sold for milling, it just happened that the logs no one else wanted were those with bends and holes in them – the perfect habitat for animals.”

By strategically placing these logs throughout the fledgling forest, the crew was able to recreate the conditions necessary for the Phascogale to thrive.

Five years down the track, the logs are being used for nesting and are attracting insects – a key food source for many small mammals,” Tony says.

The success of this project is a good lesson in the need for ground habitat, which increases the benefits of the planting and improves biological outcomes.”

What’s more, the forest is now a spectacular regeneration showcase.

The trees are now five metres tall and we are removing fences that were erected to exclude kangaroos, wallabies and deer, because the regeneration has been so successful the trees are out of the danger period,” Tony explains.

Parks Victoria has plans to introduce a walking track into the park so that the community can appreciate the result of their hard work.

Working with Greenfleet was a happy partnership that has delivered real results for the environment and the community,” Tony concludes.

Photos taken by Melbourne Water contractor Wayne Williams. These stunning images show the Phascogale Possum utilising the habitat logs placed among the revegetation at King Lake National Park in Victoria.  

 

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