Local youth pitch in to protect World Heritage listed rainforest
This work has been supported by the Australian Government’s Green Army program through Envite Environment’s Nightcap Green Army team. Green Army is an Australian Government initiative for young Australians aged 17-24. Participants gain 20 weeks training and experience in environmental conservation across local areas including Nightcap National Park.
Envite Environment’s Green Army supervisor Tom Learmonth said Green Army is working in priority corridors within the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest.
“We predominantly focus on controlling weeds such as lantana that can overtake and quickly out-compete native plants of the rainforest understory.”
“This is important work as we know a number of threatened species rely on healthy, diverse rainforest, species such as the well-known Wompoo Fruit-Dove which takes advantage of fruit-bearing rainforest trees,” Mr Learmonth says.
Through this project Green Army participants have had the opportunity to work alongside groups like NSW National Parks and Wildlife whilst learning valuable skills and techniques in ecological restoration.
Best practice methodologies have been used to target monoculture lantana infestations, Mr Learmonth explains.
“Splatter gun techniques have been used with great success to tackle dense lantana, providing time and space for native species to grow and occupy the lower and mid-story rainforest strata.”
Splatter gun involves the physical clearing of tracks through the lantana which provides access for targeted herbicide application. In areas suitable for splatter gun, significant change has been seen in the vegetation in just over a year.
“Rocky Creek Dam is just one example where we have seen a complete transformation from full lantana cover to dead lantana, followed by the restoration of pioneer rainforest species, species including pencil cedars and bleeding hearts,” Mr Learmonth says.
For more information on rainforest restoration or local Green Army projects visit www.envite.org.au.