This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust
Filling the Biodiversity Gaps connecting Tweed Coast to Border Ranges – Stages 1 to 8
Situated on the edge of the Tweed Caldera, this project is offered to landholders in the Tweed Shire that have high conservation land that is currently degraded by invasive weeds. These properties usually have one or more of the following attributes – threatened animal and plant species; rare ecological communities; positioned on regional wildlife/climate change corridors; next to National Parks; have in-perpetuity conservation agreements (BCT); and supportive landholders. The types of properties can include degraded Gondwana rainforest remnants, riparian corridors, freshwater wetlands, bushland, coastal heathlands and Themeda grasslands. If cattle are present on the property, they will need to be fenced off from the work area.
Tweed Landcare’s highly successful signature project has been funded consecutively for the last 8 years by the NSW Environmental Trust Restoration and Rehabilitation grant program enabling Tweed Landcare to work with thirty-three landholders in key locations to bush regenerate over 200 hectares of degraded natural areas. The projects go for 3-4 years and can include a monitoring component such as a fencing trial or wildlife monitoring program (e.g. Spotted-tailed Quoll). The landholders sign landholder agreements and agree to maintain the work through follow up weeding for either 2 or seven years.
90% of the project funds goes to on-ground bush regeneration work. The native forest in this part of the world has amazing resilience and recovers quickly when the weeds are controlled. The objective is to see rapid regeneration back to the original vegetation for that ecosystem, preferably with a closing canopy and minimal maintenance for the landholder.
An Aboriginal cultural site inspection from the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council is offered to each landholder. Landholders find this visit gives them a new perspective of their country and appreciation for the people who walked the country before them.
We would like to thank our partners for their support of the project. They include Tweed Shire Council, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Biodiversity Conservation Trust, and the local community. Training and awareness raising activities undertaken as part of this project will increase landholder skills to manage habitat on their properties and enhance the broader community understanding of the importance of landscape connectivity.
Up until about 200 years ago much of the Tweed Valley was covered in lush rainforest. This was ancient, old growth forest with 200my old connections to Gondwanaland when the southern continents were one large land mass. The rainforest thrived in the conditions created by the Tweed shield volcano with high rainfall and a warm subtropical climate, whilst in many other parts of Australia the country dried out and the rainforests contracted. Aboriginal people lived throughout the Tweed valley for at least 10,000 years preceding the arrival of Europeans.
The descriptions from the first Europeans to venture into the Tweed Valley in the 1820s suggest that the rainforest was still intact. They noted “A deep rich valley clothed with magnificent trees, the beautiful uniformity of which was only interrupted by the turns and windings of the river, which here and there appeared like small lakes. The background was Mt. Warning. The view was altogether beautiful beyond description. The scenery here exceeded anything I have previously seen in Australia.”
Over a period of 40 years from 1840 to 1880 the early Europeans started the dismantling of the forest. The cedar getters worked to selectively remove Red cedar trees. The most dramatic transformation of the landscape occurred during the years of the Robertson Land Acts of 1861. This act allowed the free selection of blocks from 18 to 150ha if the occupier made improvements. This paved the way for wholesale land clearing and destruction of the original forest that changed the valley forever.
The current Tweed residents benefit from the creation of farmland, but there are concerns about the continued co-existence of threatened species, some of which are only found in the Tweed Caldera, such as Alberts lyrebird are threatened with extinction from further land clearing and pressures from a changing climate such as the recent record-breaking floods.
Private land is becoming increasingly important in the fight to save threatened species. Most National Parks in the Tweed region are on the escarpment country. Properties on the foothills, riparian and valley floors are vital to connecting to the larger National Parks on the higher ranges.
This project aims to restore fragmented habitat along identified fauna and climate change corridors to provide safer movement of fauna and flora across the shire from the Tweed Coast west to the Border Ranges and north-south across the shire potentially to higher altitude.