FNPW Bushfire Recovery Grant 0014BRRG_R2: Summary Report – ‘Rifflerun’
A deeply satisfying feature of progress on our conservation project at ‘Rifflerun’ on the Manning River in the NSW mid-north coast has been the contribution of natural recruitment among tree species. De-stocking the property, while controlling the many invasive weed species, has allowed extensive recruitment from remnant trees. That growth, together with our replanting work, is progressing well towards the goal of re-establishing a native forest canopy.
Rifflerun’s natural vegetation was primarily a dry rainforest, and occasional remnant trees remained when we began work in 2001. Several of these natives are acting as ‘first colonisers’, particularly red kamala, black wattle, Maiden’s wattle, brush kurrajong, red ash, white cedar and shatterwood. As they progress, we can see how they are increasing seed availability, shading out weeds, providing habitat value for diverse animals, and a range of other ecological functions.
Notably, Shatterwood (Backhousia sciadophora) is showing the importance of particular species’ cycles of succession in supporting revegetation projects. The attached photo shows a developing, multi-generational clump of them. At the top left is the large old specimen at the centre of the clump, which we christened the Grandmother tree. Radiating outwards is a sequence of progressively younger generations, with mid-sized ‘daughters’ near the centre, smaller ‘grand-daughters’ next, and ‘great-grand-daughters’, like the one growing at the bottom right and foreground, scattered around the periphery.
With this example of the value of natural succession, we will be emphasising propagation and planting of shatterwoods, and the other species showing similar patterns, through 2023 and beyond.
We gratefully acknowledge the funding support provided for our project by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.