Revegetating Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary
Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has partnered with Landcare Australia and local community groups in a two-year project to restore 1190 hectares of previously cleared land on Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary (on the Eyre Peninsula, SA).
Jan 2017: Dakalanta was acquired by AWC from Earth Sanctuaries Ltd, the entity founded by John Wamsley. While other AWC properties have not been subject to any significant vegetation clearing prior to acquisition, Dakalanta is an exception: approximately one third of Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary was cleared prior to acquisition by AWC (and Earth Sanctuary). Now, thanks to a partnership with Landcare Australia and local community groups, 1190 hectares of previously cleared land is being restored .
As part of the project, AWC and Landcare Australia have partnered with local contractors and community groups including the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation, Greening Australia, Trees for Life (SA) and Eyre Native Seeds to secure over 1190 kilograms of local indigenous seed.
Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation employees Jake Dunn (left), Spencer Benbolt (middle) and Adam Coleman (right) spreading out native plant seed pods they have collected to dry. Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Freeman.
Seed collection and planting targets for the first phase of the project have been met with over 800 kilograms of pure seed collected and sown into Dakalanta (1600 kilometres of direct seeding). A recent count of germinated seedlings recorded 4500 per hectare - a total of 3.6 million plants across the project site.
A flamboyant array of colour formed by the native seeds collected
Prior to commencing seeding, the project team completed rabbit, mouse and snail baiting along with herbicide and insecticide spraying. Custom built direct seeding machines were constructed to work in the calcareous soils prominent at Dakalanta. Species now germinating as a result of project work to date include Allocasuarina (Sheoak), Eucalyptus, Acacia and Dodonea (Hop-bush) species.
Direct-seeding taking place
The project is part of the Federal Governments 20 Million Trees Program and at Dakalanta the focus is on improving previously cleared land. In autumn 2016 and autumn 2017, this involved direct seeding of approximately 1048 hectares of Drooping Sheoak Woodland, 98 hectares of Mallee Box Woodland and 54 hectares of Sand Mallee Community.
Dakalanta is home to a diverse array of wildlife including the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.