Mar 27, 2024 | News, Newsletters

Carolita Fuentes says little miracles along the way have helped a small band of volunteers regenerate a 0.5 hectare patch of Greenhide Reserve Forest, near Linville in southeast Queensland. In recent years, heavy rains have washed invasive weeds away and cattle who wandered in, ate unwanted weeds, leaving the newly planted native trees alone.

Friends of the Forest have spent the past five years regenerating the critically endangered remnant of subtropical rainforest through ongoing weed removal and planting. More recently, they were able to buy essential equipment for their work with support from Highways and Byways.

Once power lines went through the area, the forest canopy was opened and created a haven for invasive weeds, including Lantana and tobacco plants, to grow and take over native vegetation. The Friends of the Forest, a group of about 12, are vigilant about keeping these weeds away. They have planted more than 300 native trees and shrubs at Greenhide Reserve that now support native wildlife by creating a new area of habitat and food.

“A really important part of this works is that we have been able to mitigate further major erosion because the trees will help stabilise the soil if there are future floods of the Brisbane River,” Carolita said. Queensland blue gums were a popular choice for planting because their deep roots provide stability, and their leaves cater for the local koalas.

The group also works to encourage locals to join the regular working bees and to develop a sense of care for the area. While they have had mixed success at recruiting locals, their work led to great partnerships with the Somerset Regional Council, Traditional Custodians Jason Murphy (Jinibara) and Steve Marsh (Dungibara) and Conservation Volunteers Australia and caught the attention of several scientists. Native plant specialist Dr. Andrew Pengelly, soil restoration microbiologist, Dr. Sandra Tuszynska and an invertebrate specialist Helen Schwencke, have all visited the site and provided invaluable advice.

“We are very lucky that the work to regenerate and maintain this special remnant of forest captured the attention of experts who wanted to help us. They travelled many hours to get here and we are grateful for all the help we get on this project, especially from Highways and Byways,” Carolita said.

Image, main: Greenhide Reserve Forest near Linville in southeast Queensland.

Images, insert top and bottom: Volunteers planted new trees to mitigate erosion at Greenhide Reserve.


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