World Heritage Area Ecological Restoration Project
Restoring logged areas to tall eucalypt forest
The World Heritage Area ecological restoration project is working to restore 195 hectares of logged coupes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, an area recognised internationally for its exceptional ecological values and vast array of plant and animal species. A process using a mix of ecological burning, seeding and planting will allow a wide selection of biodiverse native trees and shrub species to rehabilitate the logged area, restoring tall eucalypt forests, and providing habitat for animals, plants and birds. The project is funded by the Australian Government.
In 2013, ancient forests and giant eucalypts including the Great Western Tiers, Styx, Florentine, Picton and Weld were included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The World Heritage Area forest restoration project is working to restore seven recently logged coupes within Styx, Picton, Florentine that are part of this World Heritage Area extension. The sites for restoration work are all located within areas of pristine tall eucalypt forests, including the Styx Valley, the lower Florentine, Hartz Mountains, the Picton Valley near Federation Peak, and in the far south in the foothills of Mt La Perouse.
The project fulfils a primary objective of the current Tasmanian World Heritage Area Management Plan (under the World Heritage Convention) to rehabilitate sites damaged by logging or other human disturbance. In this management plan sites formerly used for forestry activities that would otherwise have only slow natural regeneration are identified as a key priority for rehabilitation. The project is being undertaken in close consultation with and with the support of the Parks and Wildlife Service, the land manager.
Our unique trial project is one of the most significant forest restoration projects in Australia, determining the best methods for restoring logged-over coupes to biodiverse native forest. The project vision is to restore and enhance the values of the tall forests of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The project will help protect and restore ecological connectivity and biodiversity, restoring the ecology of Eucalyptus delegatensis wet forests, and E.regnans and E. obliqua tall forests. As well as restoring forests and helping to tackle climate change, the project will create habitat and provide food and shelter for a diverse array of native mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Full restoration of these forests will take still take over 100 years.
"These ecological trials will help us work out the best way to restore the forests, to reduce the risk of wildfire or arson, to control of pests and weeds, and to control and mitigate erosion."
Site Names Counsel 10B, Styx 19I, Tyenna 41A, Tyenna 51C, Catamaran 4C, Arve 2B, Picton 43E
Location Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
Methodology Removal of logging debris by mechanical clearing or ecological burning, direct seeding, transplanting of local seedings, and follow up weed monitoring
Funding Australian Government Biodiversity Fund
- Ecological burning or mechanical clearing techniques manipulated to favour rainforest and understorey species. For example, cooler and patchier burns.
- Use of local provenance seed where possible, and otherwise in-zone seed. In-zone seed comes from the local area and has similar genetic composition.
- Seeding to restore original forest species composition. Trialling of seeding rates and local species compositions where practical.
- Stringent environmental guidelines to prevent introduction of weeds and diseases, including cleaning of all machinery entering the sites.
- Follow-up revegetation monitoring, weeding and planting by community groups. Assistance will be provided by the Understorey Network and a Wildcare group that is being established. For example, replanting trials with myrtle and leatherwood at the Counsel 10B site.
- Trialling the use of fenced enclosures to protect revegetation from browsing wildlife.
- Rehabilitation of tracks and access roads.
- The project has the active support of the Parks and Wildlife Service, the land manager. PWS are providing technical expertise. Expertise is also being provided by plant ecologists from the University of Tasmania.