Environment

Protecting what remains of east rainforests after bushfires

Photo: East Gippsland Conservation Management Network

With more than 70 per cent of East Gippsland warm temperate rainforest impacted by bushfires earlier this year, the fight to protect what remains is more important than ever.

The East Gippsland Conservation Management Network is working to ensure these ‘fire refuges’ are able to support threatened species while the broader landscape recovers from the recent fires.

Funding has been secured from Landcare Australia’s $300,000 Bushfire Recovery Grants and local conservationists are focusing on three rainforest sites in the Lakes Entrance district with activities like supplementary planting, species monitoring and weed control.

“East Gippsland contains around two-thirds of all Victoria’s rainforest, and rainforest makes a disproportionate contribution to biodiversity conservation, relative to the land area it covers,” said Tom Crook of East Gippsland Conservation Management Network.

“They contain around 14 percent of all Victoria’s threatened species, yet make up only 1.4 percent of its land area. And with more than 70 percent of warm temperate rainforest in East Gippsland recently fire effected, unburnt rainforest areas are now more critical for biodiversity conservation than ever before.

“It’s hoped through these activities, there will be improved ecological condition of rainforest sites and their capacity to act as threatened species habitat and refuges in an otherwise fire effected landscape.

“And with help from this funding from Landcare Australia, greater levels of community understanding of rainforest conservation values and opportunities to participate in local, practical actions to improve a range of environmental values post fire,” Tom said.

Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grants have been made possible by an extraordinarily large amount of donations from generous organisations and private donors. The grants will support 23 wide-ranging regeneration projects, focusing on activities including impacted rainforest revegetation, nest boxes for decimated native species and feeding programs for endangered wildlife.

Meanwhile, applications are now open for the state government’s $900,000 Biodiversity Bushfire Recovery Grants program.

The grants are for on-ground works, community education and capacity building projects in areas severely affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. Those who can apply include private landowners who are conserving bushland on their properties, volunteer environmental groups and volunteer-based environmental networks. Details HERE.

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