Seedling donations support koala care groups
THE Northern Rivers is about to get a whole lot greener with more than 7,000 seedlings set to be planted across the region.
Forestry Corporation of NSW has donated more than 50,000 eucalyptus seedlings to a number of north coast koala care groups to help rebuild koala habitat on private land.
Forestry Corporation ecologist Chris Slade said the eucalyptus seedlings were grown in the Corporation's Grafton nursery and have begun their journey to locations along the state's north coast.
"We are in the third year of the program and this year there are more seedlings going out to more areas, including areas to the west of Kempsey; it's fantastic," Mr Slade said.
"The seedlings will be planted to connect known koala populations across the landscape by creating vegetated corridors and other patches, increasing food and shelter availability.
"This partnership is a great example of public, private and not-for-profit organisations working together - Forestry Corporation growing and delivering plants free of charge, farms providing nursery storage and local community volunteers providing planting power."
The first deliveries of the koala-preferred tree seedlings were recently completed, much to the delight of recipients Lismore's Friends of the Koala, Bangalow Koalas and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
This included a shipment of 7,200 seedlings delivered to Santarini Farms near Clunes in northern NSW.
Mark Wilson from Friends of the Koala, Linda Sparrow from Bangalow Koalas and Andrew Taylor from Santarini Farms were on site to receive the delivery.
"The trees look fantastic - our team will use professional planting teams to join corridors and gaps in habitat south of Lismore," Mr Wilson said.
"Trees will be planted for both habitat and to harvest feed for the koala care centre."
Planting will take place over the coming cooler months to avoid hot and dry conditions, weeds, competition and browsing from wildlife.
Any seedlings not planted will be raised in tubes or potted at Santarini Farms.
Bangalow Koalas will focus on community planting days with community volunteers on private properties. Their last event saw 160 people plant around 3,000 seedlings.
Forestry Corporation's Jenny Sonter said she was "very pleased" to deliver the seedlings.
"It's such a pleasure to deliver these trees to our community partners; opening the back of the trailer is like unwrapping a giant Christmas present," Ms Sonter said.