The devastating fires of February 2009 engulfed 98% of Kinglake National Park, killing many native animals, including endangered species, and destroying wildlife habitat.
The Brush Tailed Phascogale, a threatened species in Victoria, was one of those species, and post-fire surveys found no evidence of the small marsupial within the park. Further surveys conducted in unburnt areas found the nocturnal marsupial to be present in the nearby Warrandyte State Park.
With this in mind, Parks Victoria planned to return the Phascogale, as well as other fauna populations effected by the fires, back into Kinglake National Park by building a wildlife corridor. This involved revegetating strategic areas of former grazing land and laying down logs - essential Phascogale habitat - to connect the unburnt nearby park with Kinglake National Park.
“This planting will create a corridor of continuous vegetation and we have been able to collect trees felled because of the fires and relocate them here to make a more natural habitat for the animals.” Tony Fitzgerald, Parks Victoria Ranger said in 2010.
Greenfleet was called upon to manage the revegetation aspect of this project, planting a species-rich mix of trees, shrubs and grasses to restore 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). The revegetation project began in 2010 with the planting of 17,000 trees, shrubs and grasses over 18.7 hectares, closely followed by the planting of 12,000 in 2011 on the remaining 10.8ha.
In 2012, some specimens of the Brush Tailed Phascogale (Phascogaletapoatafa) were discovered within the park, providing excellent encouragement for the project. In July 2013, Parks Victoriarangers surveyed 28 nest boxes placed in the habitat link and found 24 of them being used by animals. Several nests were of the endangered Brush-tailed Phascogale, while others had live nests of the more common Sugar Glider.
In 2015, we were absolutely thrilled to receive photos of the Phascogale, taken by Melbourne Water contractor Wayne Williams. These stunning images showed the Phascogale utilising the habitat logs placed among Greenfleet’s trees. It was a wonderful sight and proof of the great success of this revegetation project.
The forest grew quickly into a spectacular native regeneration showcase. Parks Victoria rangers were able to remove fences that were erected to exclude kangaroos, wallabies and deer, because the new trees were out of danger.
“Working with Greenfleet was a happy partnership that has delivered real results for the environment and the community,” Tony said.
Thanks to the hard work of hundreds of people, to the contributions from Greenfleet supporters (including Ferguosn Plarre Bakehouses) and the regenerative power of the Australian bush, the forest at Kinglake National Park is now recovering from the tragic bushfires.
We are proud to have supported the community with this project and to have helped restore habitat for threatened wildlife. As it grows, this forest will continue to play a pivotal role in protecting the Park’s biodiversity while capturing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Based on the Australian Government’s FullCam, the forest is predicted to absorb more than 14,000 tonnes of carbon in its lifetime!