Ecological restoration

Ecological thinning and restoring degraded habitats in central Victoria

People often underestimate the level of change natural areas have undergone over the ecologically short space of time since the arrival of the first European migrants less than two centuries ago. The waves of profound change in land use – starting with the pastoral era, followed by the gold rush and later closer settlement and so on – combined with the rapid dying-out of aboriginal people and their traditional practices like ‘fire stick farming’, has left us today with very different and often dysfunctional landscapes comprising mostly fragments of modified bushland. Even the bush left on public land hasn’t been spared.  This project involved establishing a monitoring program designed to track the progress of an ecologically thinned area of Box Ironbark Forest in state forest near Bendigo. By selectively thinning degraded regrowth using ecological principles, it is hoped we’ll be assisting recovery with an increase in the number of large old trees, improved soil heath and the regeneration of shrubs and the ground layer. Other similar restoration projects are planned for the region and will hopefully be widely adopted once the techniques have been established.