The ACT’s remaining woodlands are nationally significant as they are among the biggest, best connected, most botanically diverse examples of their type. The critically endangered white box–yellow box–Blakely’s red gum grassy woodland, known in the ACT as yellow box–red gum grassy woodland, is particularly important.
- provide habitat for native species, including threatened species and shelter for stock
- store carbon
- protect water quality
- provide nature-based recreation activities.
Since European settlement, the woodlands have been damaged or destroyed by clearing, weed and pest animal invasion, and inappropriate fire regimes. Woodland patches have become smaller and fragmented.
The ACT’s woodland restoration projects will improve the condition of the woodlands, protect them from further damage and create connectivity between woodland patches with 'stepping stones' of native trees. The projects cover both nature reserves and privately owned land.
The CSIRO study, Flyways & Byways: Guiding restoration of wildlife corridors, is informing a number of woodland restoration projects across the ACT and highlights the important role of scattered trees in improving habitat connectivity. The research report is available here.
The projects are part of ‘whole-of-landscape’ environmental improvements in the ACT such as removal of feral animals and weeds and the rehabilitation of waterways.
Restore ACT and Greater Goorooyarroo Woodlands
This six-year project will consolidate and connect 60,000ha of the largest remaining box-gum grassy woodland landscape in Australia through on-ground restoration and regeneration works.
The project, funded by the Australian Government Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund and the ACT Government, will protect and enhance the box–gum woodlands across ACT nature parks and the Greater Goorooyarroo area, which straddles the ACT and NSW border.
The project involves the ACT and NSW governments, NSW’s Murrumbidgee Catchment Authority, Greening Australia Capital Region, researchers, local landholders, Aboriginal and urban communities and volunteers.
ACT Woodlands Restoration
In 2012, the ACT Government allocated $1 million over four years for woodland restoration of 450ha (4.5 square kilometres) of key landscape areas that will provide additional connectivity between woodland patches.
The project is restoring degraded areas of key habitat and connectivity value, assisting natural regeneration in existing woodland patches and replacing missing habitat elements such as logs or a shrub layer.
The project is being delivered by Greening Australia Capital Region in consultation with the ACT Government, catchment authorities and rural landholders.
Million Trees – ACT
The ACT Government received funding under the Australian Government’s Million Trees program to plant 300,000 native trees over ten years in the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.
The project is being delivered by the ACT Government Parks and City Services, using contracted planting and volunteers. Since 2008, over 230,000 trees have been planted.
Planting is continuing, particularly in formerly drought-affected areas and where maximum benefit from connectivity can occur. Weed control in planted areas is an integral part of the project to help ensure tree survival.
Other woodland projects
Reintroducing woodland species to the ACT
The ACT and partner organisations, including research institutions are working to reintroduce species that have not been seen in ACT woodlands for over a century. Much of this work is being done at the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, an initiative of the ACT Government managed by an external board, the Mulligans Flat Board of Management. The 5 km2 fenced area, which is free of foxes, cats and dogs, is within the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve.
Lower Cotter restoration
The ACT community has been extremely involved in this project to convert 3,500 hectares of pine plantation destroyed in the January 2003 bushfires to native vegetation. Natives are preferred in the water catchment area. The project involves controlling weeds, replanting native vegetation, managing fire, monitoring and promoting natural regeneration and managing roads and trails to reduce run-off.
Monaro Landscape Connectivity Project
This project is working with land managers in the Murrumbidgee catchmentto improve the condition, extent and connectivity of patches of native vegetation across the Monaro region.
Funded through the Australian Government’s ‘Caring For Our Country’ program, the project is being delivered through a partnership between Kosciuszko to Coast, Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc, and the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority.
Volunteers are critical to woodland restoration projects. They have contributed to past and present projects and were particularly important in revegetating the Lower Cotter catchment following the 2003 fires.
Volunteers are also welcome to contribute to the current woodland restoration projects.