Restoration of the 950 ha ex-farming lands on the conservation property Peniup began in 2007. The result is a mosaic of yate woodlands, mallee systems and moort thickets. Innovation has seen the incorporation of patches of difficult to establish proteaceous species and some biodiverse sandalwood plantings.
The Peniup Restoration Project was initiated in 2007, when Greening Australia and Bush Heritage Australia jointly purchased a 2,406 hectare sheep and crop farming property as a contribution to the conservation and restoration objectives of Gondwana Link.
Peniup sits between the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River national parks (see map). Securing this property was a key strategy in the plan to increase ecological connectivity between these national parks. Once the cleared lands had been replanted, Peniup provided a large stepping stone of bushland and strengthened the connection with neighbouring bush. Restoration also help protect the unusually healthy creek systems on the property and increased the amount of yate woodland in the area.
In 2008, Greening Australia’s Restoration Manager Justin Jonson developed a detailed ecological restoration plan for 950 hectares of cleared land on the northern section of the property. The project aimed to re-establish a self-replicating biologically diverse plant system, ecologically informed in its design, and consistent with the mosaic of plant associations found in the local landscape. Because of the scale and complexity sought for the proposed restoration, new approaches to restoration planning, new direct seeding equipment and new implementation techniques were required to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
A mosaic of yate woodland, mixed mallee systems and moort thickets have been established. But attention was also given to encouraging the development of habitat suitable for the local animal species. As an example, new techniques were used to produce pockets of proteaceous plants – including hakeas, banksias, grevilleas – which white tailed Black cockatoos and honey possums alike feed on.
To enable learnings from a project of this scale and innovation, ongoing monitoring programs have been established and involve Threshold Environmental, Australian National University, Murdoch University, University of Western Australia and the Conservation Council of WA Citizen Science program. Bird surveys show that the restoration is well on the way to supporting the diversity of birds seen in the comparable undisturbed bushland which shows that the restoration is already valuable wildlife habitat.
For detailed information on some of the Peniup plantings see:
- Peniup Restoration Plan (pdf)
- Planning at Peniup: Restoration at the property scale – lessons learned in Gondwana Link (pdf)
- Ecological Management and Restoration article including Justin Jonson’s video presentation on Peniup at the 2014 AARB.
- Ecological Restoration of Cleared Land in Gondwana Link: lifting the bar at ‘Peniup’ (pdf)
This project was undertaken by Greening Australia.
Funding for this work was provided by Mirabella, ……