Woodland Recovery Initiative

12 03 2009

golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha)I’m recommending you view a video presentation (can be accessed by clicking the link below) by A/Prof. David Paton which demonstrates the urgency of reforesting the region around Adelaide. Glenthorne is a 208-ha property 17 km south of the Adelaide’s central business district owned and operated by the University of Adelaide. A major revegetation project called the Woodland Recovery Initative is being organised to achieve the following:

  • reclaim approximately 100 ha of farmland and reconstruct a suitable habitat that encourages the return of native species
  • establish a world-class research centre
  • employ scientists, technicians, teachers and managers to deliver research, educational, community engagement, monitoring and on-ground works
  • develop educational programs that involve local schools in the environmental works, so that young South Australians are engaged in the project and see it as important to the future of their community

In my view, this is a really exciting opportunity to test experimentally the best ways to restore woodlands to maximise biodiversity retention. Once revegetated, the Glenthorne property will link existing reserves to maximise forested area (and as we know, increasing habitat area is one of most effective ways to prevent extinction). The next step is to apply the knowledge gained from the long-term experimentation at Glenthorne to revegetate the regions surrounding Adelaide that have suffered 200 years of heavy deforestation.

I strongly encourage local support of this initiative – it’s not only biodiversity that will benefit – ecosystem services on which the human residents of the greater Adelaide region depend (including extremely important things such as water retention and carbon sequestration) will also be efficiently enhanced by evidence-based ecological restoration of the region. We could certainly use better natural water retention and more carbon sequestration in addition to the re-establishment of many extirpated native species!


CJA Bradshaw



2 responses

27 03 2009

Reading your post brought to mind the WILD Foundation, an organization raising awareness for biodiversity in several regions around the world. This is their website http://www.wild.org


24 03 2009

Yesterday the government confirmed the Glenthorne Property would indeed be used as indicated above. The University of Adelaide press release is copied below:

The University aims to reclaim farmland at Glenthorne and reconstruct a suitable habitat that encourages the return of native species. Glenthorne would be used as a model for revegetation of 150000 ha across the Mt Lofty region.

The University of Adelaide welcomes the State Government’s announcement that it will help to realise a major environmental initiative aimed at restoring native woodland to the Mt Lofty Ranges.

The project – known as the Woodland Recovery Initiative – has been proposed by the University in a bid to halt an expected drastic decline of species across the Mt Lofty Ranges.

To provide enough ongoing funding for the project to succeed over the next 100 years, the University proposed to establish a $100 million trust fund by developing 63 ha of the land at Glenthorne.

“In doing this, the University had taken a financially responsible approach aimed at preventing any impact on the public purse,” said the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor James McWha.

“Such a project requires substantial and ongoing funding, and is a large commitment for any one government, State or Federal. However, a project such as this is also drastically needed to help prevent further species loss in the region, which is something the State Government acknowledges.

“Since announcing the Woodland Recovery Initiative last year, the University has been encouraged by the support that it has received from within government, from environmental groups and from the wider community.

“We are very pleased that the State Government has announced that it will identify alternative sources of funding for our major environmental project, and we look forward to working with the government on helping to turn this vision into a reality,” Professor McWha said.

Glenthorne will remain operational as a small-scale farm while the University works through further details with the State Government on the Woodland Recovery Initiative.


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