Paddock tree regeneration

A declining numbers of paddock trees throughout the Limestone Coast has prompted a new regeneration project. Trees For Life has started the Limestone Coast Paddock Tree Project, which aims to increase numbers by growing and preserving the next generation of paddock trees.

The group received funding through a Smart Farms Small Grant, with support from the Limestone Coast Landscape Board as part of the National Landcare Program. Project Officer Kelsey Bennett said one of the main aims of the project was to improve habitat for the endangered South Eastern Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, which nest in large, old, hollow eucalypts.

The project involves the Limestone Coast inland areas including Keith through to Lucindale, Millicent and Mount Gambier. “The area we’ve included is the main habitat range of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo,” Ms Bennett said. Ms Bennett said the project received over 80 applications.

 “It’s a really great thing, the level of interest from people,” she said. “There’s quite a lot of people who are really keen that have been doing their own plantings in the past and want to grow on that, and there’s also people who haven’t really done much planting but have always wanted to.”

Ms Bennett said paddock trees had been declining due to several factors, including historical clearance, the difficulty of establishing them, drought, climate change and insect attacks. “Paddock trees are important due to their agricultural and biodiversity benefits.

They provide shade and shelter for stock, improve nutrients in soil, attract beneficial insects, retain water, store carbon and are crucial habitats. Old and dying trees form nesting hollows for cockatoos and other animals,” she said.

Trees For Life is the largest not-for-profit environmental organisation in South Australia which began in 1981. The organisation aims to restore the environment through re-vegetation and conservation and they are at the heart of many conservation projects.

Although expressions of interest are now closed for the Limestone Coast Paddock Tree Project, volunteers will be required to grow trees on their property to be planted out next year. Contact Kelsey Bennett via kelseyb@treesforlife.org.au for more information.

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