Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Landcare Australia’s revegetation work at Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary, located in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been highly commended by The Society for Ecological Restoration (SERA).
The two organisations were recognised for the extensive conservation and land management practices implemented across the 13,600-hectare sanctuary acquired by Australian Wildlife Conservancy in 2002 from Earth Sanctuaries Ltd. Prior to Earth Sanctuaries’ acquisition of the property in the late 1980s, it supported a sheep grazing enterprise and showed signs of long-term farming degradation including areas that were cleared for cropping and grazing. Native flora, such as the Drooping Sheoak Grassy Woodlands that provide habitat for rare woodland birds, had suffered from opportunistic cropping while sandier pockets of soil were cleared of native vegetation.
Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Landcare Australia have worked in partnership since 2015 to restore and protect Dakalanta’s ecologically important woodlands and increase habitat for regionally threatened species such as the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Diamond Firetail and Bush Stone Curlew. This work was supported by a federally funded 20 Million Trees Grant and involved restoring the declining Drooping Sheoak Woodland to improve landscape connectivity across the region.
During 2016 and 2017, 1,190 hectares of open and degraded vegetation in the southern portion of the sanctuary was direct seeded with over 50 locally sourced native plant species being sown along 2,380km of planting lines.
James Walsh, Head of Landcare Services for Landcare Australia managed the project and describes the impact of the restoration work.
“The Dakalanta revegetation project was delivered across a large and challenging site, with particularly tough conditions. In spite of these challenges, Landcare Australia and Australian Wildlife Conservancy have been able to deliver a remarkable ecological outcome,” James said.
“This project has restored the most degraded areas of Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary, while also improving ecological function and landscape connectivity across Eyre Peninsula. A fantastic result which will help support local flora and wildlife across the region, for many years to come!”
The project was completed in 2018 and has delivered close to two million trees, shrubs and groundcover plants. This figure exceeds the ambitious project target of 595,000 plants and was achieved despite the challenges of working on a tough, calcareous site with shallow soil and difficult environmental conditions.
“We are honoured to have our successful partnership with Landcare Australia and the revegetation work recognised by The Society for Ecological Restoration,” said Keith Bellchambers, Australian Wildlife Conservancy Senior Wildlife Ecologist.
“The diversity and abundance of native flora now establishing across Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary is a great result for ecological restoration on the Eyre Peninsula,” he added. “In years to come this project will help to improve landscape connectivity, increasing habitat and food availability for threatened species.”
Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary is of strategic ecological importance as it is set amongst a mosaic of grazing and farming enterprises. The ongoing ecological health monitoring undertaken on the site by Australian Wildlife Conservancy, has identified more than 165 species of flora, 22 species of mammal, 110 species of bird, 55 species of reptile and two species of frog are known or are likely to occur there.
For more information on AWC and Landcare Australia’s work at Dakalanta Wildlife Sanctuary, click here.
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