Something special is happening at Wootton, where paddocks that have fallen out of production are rapidly turning into a diverse forest.
“Tree serve so many functions in the landscape, and bringing back a diverse forest like we used to have here has many benefits, including a sustainable timber resource,” landholder, Craig Tate said.
A long-time Wootton resident with great experience in forestry, Craig has been applying an ecological forestry approach to protecting, restoring and recreating forest ecosystems on his property and around the locality.
With assistance from small grants from Hunter Local Land Services and its predecessor, Hunter Central Rivers CMA, and from Midcoast Water, Craig has protected riparian areas on his property with projects in 2010 and 2011, and has since been gradually planting the run-down paddock near his house with a diverse mix of indigenous trees.
The aim is to mimic nature with a planted forest ecosystem, in the long term hoping to recreate rainforest conditions.
The trees have achieved near prefect survival rates and grown rapidly.
A diversity of native birds and mammals have already been spotted frequenting the newly planted forest.
Owners of nearby properties have been inspired to implement tree planting projects and have been using the planning approach and preparation and planting techniques that Craig has demonstrated to be very effective for the Wootton area, including Keyline soil preparation with a Yeomans plough, fungal inoculants and roo proof fencing.
Seven thousand trees have been planted on 12ha across four Wootton properties, while a further 17,000 trees on another 28ha are currently being planted across the properties.
On Thursday, April 20 you can join Craig and venerable native plant expert Noel Jupp of Riverdene Nursery on a free tour of three of these projects, including lunch at Wootton’s Brush Turkey Café.
For more information and bookings, contact your local Landcare co-ordinator, Joël Dunn on 0401 932 533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, April 18.