Brooke was recently in the field completing biodiversity surveys for a revegetation project coordinated by Arris and funded through the Australian Government. The aim of the project is to determine the ideal soil preparation treatments to enhance native vegetation establishment in semi-arid environments and return poor farming land back to native vegetation. The project is being undertaken on land in Wuddina on the Eyre Peninsula in collaboration with a local land holder seeking to positively use a 60 hectare paddock no longer sustainable for dryland farming due to soil constraints.
The area is semi-arid with limited rainfall so seedling establishment can be difficult. A hard calcrete pan exists close to the surface of the soil which also makes it difficult for plant roots to penetrate to the deeper soil to unlock stored water and nutrients. Different soil preparation treatments have been undertaken across the paddock including ripping and crushing, and profiling the soil, with some sections of the paddock in fallow while others are not.
To date we are seeing highly surprising survival rates (50-60%) across all seedlings planted, despite the poor rainfall in the region.
We have planted both seedlings and hard seed across the paddock, with the aim of ascertaining whether there is a significant difference in the establishment of vegetation across the different soil treatments due to the ability of the soil to store moisture and allow root penetration. Brooke’s visit to the site in June was to complete biodiversity surveys on native and invasive species diversity and to obtain soil moisture samples to monitor the stored moisture across different soil preparation methods.
To date we are seeing highly surprising survival rates (50-60%) across all seedlings planted, despite the poor rainfall in the region since planting 12 months ago.
In addition, there are notable emergent seedlings from the seed sown across the paddock which is a positive sign that we will see the successful establishment of a native vegetation system at this site in a few years time.
This project is supported through funding from the Australian Government Biodiversity Fund.