Our Sallywood Swamp Forest is growing! It’s been two years since we planted the first seedlings and many of them are now head high.
Four years ago, Pinetrees partnered with the Lord Howe Island Board to seek funding to restore a large patch of Sallywood Swamp Forest in the Pinetrees back paddock, and in 2019, we received $100,000 from the NSW Government through the NSW Environmental Trust. We’ve also contributed an equal amount.
Sallywood Swamp Forests are a Critically Endangered Ecological Community in NSW – and they’re only found on Lord Howe Island. Over 95% of the original forest coverage was destroyed by grazing, and only a few patches remain.
To date, we’ve planted about 5000 seedlings and we’re (only just) managing to keep them growing ahead of the aggressive kikuyu grass. If you think subtropical lawns grow quickly, then imagine what an ongoing La Nina rainfall event can do to kikuyu growth rates – we could run a very profitable forage business if we had enough cows to feed. We’ve also got another 2000 seedlings in our nursery ready for planting.
Our original plan to use treated greywater from the lodge to irrigate our seedlings is, at the moment, totally redundant. If anything, getting access to manage the forest restoration site – through the swamp – has been the most difficult part of the project. Still, even without as much loving care as we would like to provide, the forest is growing. Once it reaches canopy closure in another few years, the battle with water and kikuyu will turn more in our favour. And to think, two years ago we were worried about drought.
Thanks again to the NSW Environmental Trust for helping us restore such an important part of Lord Howe’s biodiversity.