Media Release – Tuesday 30 June 2020

Planting of vegetation corridors supports local wildlife

Almost 70 hectares of land is being revegetated near one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions to support the movement and protection of native wildlife.

As part of a decade long restoration plan, forest owners HVP Plantations in consultation with the Nature Glenelg Trust are revegetating two sites bordering its Rennick pine estate, the Palpara campsite and Honeysuckle-Airstrip, in an effort to create habitat corridors.

Located on the state border, both sites are in close proximity to the popular Princess Margaret Rose Caves and Lower Glenelg National Park which attract tens of thousands of tourists annually.

HVP Plantations district manager south west Marcel Griffiths, who oversees about 20,000 hectares of radiata pine estate in south west Victoria, has committed to increasing the conservation value of the estate’s native bushland, reducing the infestation of weeds and encouraging the repopulation and safe movement of wildlife, particularly threatened species.

“The Rennick forest estate is bordered by one of this region’s most picturesque parklands and as a result attracts a significant number of vehicle movements in addition to the countless locals who enjoy horse riding, cycling and bushwalking on the many track corridors,” he said.

“It was recognised that by revegetating some of our remnant land parcels with specially chosen native varieties we could develop a designated corridor for wildlife to traverse, away from the plantation estate and travelling vehicles.”

The seven-hectare Palpara campsite has been utilised as a free camping site for generations, popular because of its close proximity to the Glenelg River and neighbouring bushland. However, recent poor public behaviour and ongoing threat of bushfire from campfires led HVP to make the decision to fence-off the area and close it to the public.

Mr Griffiths said the site adjoined the Rennick State Forest, home to state and national threatened species which would benefit from the conservation works.

“More than 15 varieties of native plants are being planted throughout the area by the Nature Glenelg Trust team in an effort to choke out the various weeds and grasses which have taken over the sites from years of public use. The flora will also assist to attract wildlife back to the area, with the hopes of attracting the endangered south eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, which is known to feed in the area,” he said.

A few kilometres south, at the Honeysuckle-Airstrip, noxious weeds and non-indigenous vegetation is being removed across a 10-hectare parcel as part of a decade-long restoration work plan for the 70-hectare site, which also includes a decommissioned quarry.

The site, which borders Dry Creek, was once a major horse-drawn trading route linking Mt Gambier and Port MacDonnell with Portland.

A section of the 70 hectare parcel of the Honeysuckle-Airstrip which contains unique rock formations.

Mr Griffiths said the shallow depth to limestone made the land unsuitable for conversion to plantation, with the company unwilling to disturb the unique rock formations in the area.

“Whilst this land is not suitable for a plantation estate, it can play an important role in acting as a corridor for native wildlife, connecting to neighbouring forested areas in the Lower Glenelg National Park,” he said.

“This area is popular for wombats who have built a network of burrows across the estate and the Grassland Copper butterfly which is known in only two other locations in the Green Triangle. This replanting program and associated works will transform this area, assisting these populations to thrive whilst attracting more native species.”

Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub executive general manager Liz McKinnon said the works were another example of the extensive conservation efforts being made across the forestry sector.

“Responsible environmental stewardship is a key focus for all of the Green Triangle growers who recognise it as a founding pillar in their work strategies,” she said.

“From regenerating wetlands, building nest boxes to attract wildlife, and protecting remnant tree hollows to attract Red tailed Black Cockatoos – every effort is being made to ensure forest estates can grow harmoniously and sustainably with the local environment.”

Nature Glenelg Trust senior ecologist Bryan Haywood and ecologist Jonathan Tuck with HVP Plantation district manager south west Marcel Griffiths at the Palpara campsite, south of Rennick, which is being revegetated with more than 15 native plant varieties.