Current and Future Projects
What’s planting this season?
This land at Bencubbin used to be covered with native acacia sandalwood woodlands, until it was cleared for agriculture in the early 1900s.
It's now widely accepted that areas of deep acid yellow wodjil soil such as this should not have been cleared - they are fragile, prone to wind and water erosion, are difficult to farm and very low yielding. They also tend to have higher water recharge rates than other soils, exacerbating the rise of saline water tables and secondary salinity problems.
To stop the land “blowing”, the Fitzpatrick family are working with us to restore 25ha of their land with over 40 species of native trees and shrubs, including sandalwood and acacia. Sandalwood is ‘root hemi-parasitic’, which means it needs to attach its roots to the roots of other plants to extract water and soil nutrients. The entire planting will be protected by a 30 year covenant, and Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund will retain the rights to the offsets generated by this new carbon sink.
After around 3 years, once our plantings are sufficiently tall, soft sheep grazing will be allowed in the area to control weeds and reduce the fire hazard. The landowners will be allowed to collect fallen sandalwood nuts, and after 25 years they can harvest the sandalwood, which makes up only a small part of the total biomass of the plantings.
We’re very excited about this project – it’s the first project CNCF has done with this model. Land has become too expensive to purchase, so our executive director Ray Wilson sees this as the only way we can get more broadacre farmers to allow us to plant trees and register a covenant on their land.
By incentivising the landowners to allow us to plant on their property, we’re establishing a mutually beneficial and sustainable model which we hope will encourage more farmers to allow their land to be restored in the future.
This allows us to focus on planting trees and restoring the land rather than on land acquisition, so we can focus on restoring our natural environment and providing a cleaner planet for future generations.
In winter 2018 we will be planting a further 500 mixed endemic stems in Mundaring as part of our ongoing planting.
The Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor
To achieve greater biodiversity benefits from our reforestation program, our plantings are currently being carried out on one of Australia's biggest biodiverse carbon sink projects - the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in the Wheatbelt of WA.
The Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor is located in Western Australia’s northern agricultural region about 400 km north of Perth. The Corridor reconnects valuable remnant woodlands and 12 nature reserves to establish habitat stepping stones and links for biodiversity to move and disperse through the landscape.
It supports extensive woodlands of York Gum and Salmon Gum, much of which was cleared for agricultural purposes. The ancient Yarra Yarra drainage line flows intermittently from the east to the Yarra Yarra lakes near the town of Three Springs. Most of the lakes and channels are saline, some naturally and some because of the massive clearing of the Wheatbelt which has led to rising hypersaline groundwater tables.
From the early 1900’s onwards, over 90% of the northern Wheatbelt was cleared for agricultural purposes. This has resulted in the removal of native habitat and the extinction of many plant and animal species at a local and regional level. However, the remaining species have hung on in woodland and shrubland remnants, usually on rocky ridges and commercially less productive upper valley slopes.
By re-connecting drier inland habitats with their coastal counterparts, the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor will help protect and recover our endangered and declining woodland and shrubland fauna such as Malleefowl, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, Crested Bellbird, Western Yellow Robin and Western Spiny-tailed Skink. This is Australia’s largest revegetation project based on biodiversity and carbon capture.
Under contract with our 'planting partner' Auscarbon, CNCF has contributed to the planting of 1,265 hectares in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor since 2010. This includes 736 hectares with grant funding assistance from the Australian Government's Biodiversity Fund. In total, Auscarbon has planted 29.5 million native species of trees and shrubs in this 200 km corridor stretching from the west coast near Dongara through to Bush Heritage’s Charles Darwin Nature Reserve.
CNCF uncovered an amazing diversity of flora, birds and insects in a monitoring survey in 2014-15. This included 13 bird and 3 flora species of conservation significance. See our report