Lowland Rainforest is an endangered ecological community with just 1% of this rainforest type remaining in NSW.
In the MidCoast area we are lucky to have a number of different reserves where Lowland Rainforest occurs and Council recognises it is important to regenerate these areas to conserve this rare ecosystem.
With funding from the NSW Environmental Trust and Council’s environmental levy, Council have spent the last two years restoring three important riverside reserves: Wingham Brush, Andrews Reserve and Flanagan's Creek Spit.
These three reserves and a number of others on the Manning River floodplain form part of the broader Stepping Stone Project, a long-term initiative of Council that aims to create a linkage of rainforest remnants on the Manning in partnership with local environmental groups such as Taree Landcare.
One of the major threats to these rainforests are invasive weeds, particularly riparian vine weeds such as Madeira Vine, Cats Claw Creeper and Balloon Vine, which smother and out compete native vegetation.
The introduction of an intensive weed control program and the replanting of a variety of rainforest species wil lcontribute to the recovery of these important ecosystems.
Wingham Brush contains one of the largest remaining remnants of Lowland Rainforest and it is hoped the regeneration of the adjoining reserve will help to expand the rainforest and provide additional habitat for the grey-headed flying fox, which is also endangered in NSW.
Restoration work that has been undertaken in the Wingham foreshore area has included the control of 8 hectares of invasive exotic weed species that have been severely impacting upon the resident native vegetation and the restoration works that have previously occurred on site.
So far, 934 supertubes, 175 tubestock and 30 translocations have been planted to reduce competition from fast growing weed species and to close down canopy gaps.
Andrews Reserve in Taree has also benefitted from regeneration works, and 400 hours of hand weeding and spraying has gone into the first primary breakdown of weeds along the riparian stretch on the 2 hectare site.
Flanagan's Creek Spit
Flanagan’sCreek Spit is located within the Manning Waters Reserve, Taree West.
This site has seen weeding across 6 hectares as well as planting of 594 tubestock to connect isolated trees into corridors, and islands of vegetation to reduce weed edge effects.
Other methods of re-establishing vegetation have been trialled including direct seeding of treated pioneer species such as Red Ash. These methods were implemented to reduce the amount of opportunistic grazing of the planted trees by the local resident hare, as well as other methods of encouraging the hare to move elsewhere.