Bencubbin is a town in Western Australia, approximately 3.25 hours drive northeast from Perth. In 2018, we began to restore an area of 25 hectares that was previously used for agriculture. The site, which was originally an acacia sandalwood woodland, was cleared in the 1900’s. Restoration of the site included planting over 20 native species (including acacia and sandalwood) to improve soil fertility, restore native bushland and to help reduce erosion to the area through ‘blowing’. Preparation for planting commenced in May 2018. This included ‘ripping and scalping’ of the soil and implementing pest controls for rabbits and kangaroos. Planting shortly followed suit in 2018 using a combination of direct seeding and seedling.
In July 2019, one year monitoring was conducted to assess the survival rate of the seedlings. The method used consisted of 10 quadrats of 19.5mx19.5m, allocated to the area via random selection. The data collected within these quadrats included recording the number of present seedlings and measuring the height, width and percentage of alive biomass on each plant. On average, survival rate was 98%.
While having such a high overall seedling survival rate, the results from this monitoring report are very intriguing. The results showed that certain areas differed greatly, ranging from 0% survival to 300%. These were unusual results and could be due to multiple reasons including uneven seeding, wind and drastic differences in soil quality between quadrats. It was also observed that the quadrats with the highest survival rate were not actually the healthiest.
Once monitoring has been conducted, sites are assessed for ‘infill’ requirements and we restock the area where it has experienced significant loss. In the case of this site where quadrats have such opposing survival rates, additional soil sampling is recommended before ‘infills’ of more seedlings can occur. Soil sampling will tell us if we need to change the species planted, for instance, to more drought or saline tolerant species.
Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.