Our rainforest regeneration project across fire-impacted Huonbrook, Wanganui and Upper Wilsons Creek, in Northern NSW has received a significant boost thanks to a grant from the inGrained Foundation. For the next twelve months, this will enable our Rainforest Rangers to and engage residents, landowners, volunteers, in mitigating the risk of future bushfire through tree planting, weed control, and increasing biodiversity.
The Rainforest 4 Foundation has been awarded $30,000 from the inGrained Foundation for our project Rainforest Rangers: Bushfires, Rainforest, and Recovery. This year's theme for the inGrained Foundation was ‘regeneration and social connection’. This was partly prompted by the summer bushfires and led the inGrained Foundation Grants Committee to focus on the future of the local community.
Tree planting to support rainforest recovery
The grant will allow the Rainforest 4 Foundation to embark on a largescale regeneration project where we will engage residents, landowners, volunteers, and the Madhima Gulgan Rangers in mitigating the risk of future bushfire through weeding, planting and increasing biodiversity.
The unprecedented bushfires that occurred in Northern NSW in November and December 2019 burnt over 5,500 hectares and were named the Mt Nardi fires. They impacted the Nightcap National Park and the surrounding areas including the communities of Huonbrook and Wanganui inland from Byron Bay where residents and landowners were faced with the flames and the aftermath.
As the fires approached residents of the valley had to evacuate and when they returned it was to a new reality. The fires mostly burnt the sclerophyll forest (the eucalyptus and other hard leaved plants), along the ridgetops, however, the extreme conditions also saw fire burn the edge of the rainforest where it was eventually extinguished. Fortunately, no homes were lost however it was a big wakeup call and now they need to prepare for the future.
The Madhima Gulgan Community Association is a self-managed initiative established in 2008 to support Aboriginal people and their families by creating employment. Rainforest 4 Foundation is involving the Madhima Gulgan Rangers in this project. The members of the team are experienced and trained bush regenerators. They will train and support the residents, landowners, and volunteers in learning rainforest restoration techniques. This will build a connection between the local Aboriginal community and others actively involved in caring for the land.
Madhima Gulgan Rangers
The main activities of the project
We are helping the residents and landowners at Huonbrook, Wanganui and Upper Wilsons Creek in the Byron Shire recover from the bushfires and prepare for the future.
The main activities are:
- Removing exotic plants that are flammable like Running Bamboo
- Preparing tree planting sites by removing exotic weeds including Lantana, Winter Senna, Small-leaved Privet and Camphor Laurel
- Facilitating natural regeneration by hand weeding around rainforest tree seedlings
- Planting fire-resistant local native rainforest plants to add species diversity in the understorey and mid-story and mitigate fire risk.
The beneficiaries will be:
- Landowners and residents in northern NSW living in locations at risk from future bushfires
- Local Aboriginal people and their families
- Local people as volunteers (our Rainforest Rangers)
- Endangered flora and fauna found at Huonbrook, Wanganui and Upper Wilsons Creek (25 species, see attached list)
The outcomes will be:
- To plant 3,600 rainforest trees
- To remove 6 hectares of exotic and flammable weeds
- Employment to support Aboriginal people and their families
- Volunteers trained in rainforest regeneration and land management from an Indigenous perspective
Workshop for Community and Environmental Resilience:
- Two workshops (one day each) for landowners and the community
- Residents and landowners reassured through an understanding that rainforest regeneration will contribute to bushfire mitigation
- To have an ecologist record and document them as ecological restoration outcomes
Byron Shire has high biodiversity with 145 threatened flora species, 183 threatened fauna species and 8 threatened ecological communities (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016). Lowland subtropical rainforest is listed nationally threatened ecological community (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).
Rose-Crowned Fruit-Dove by Sharon McGrigor
Social connection will occur through building the community in Huonbrook, Wanganui, and Upper Wilsons Creek. After the fire’s individuals in the community have been observed looking for opportunities to connect with and work with each other on solutions. Many newcomers need support to learn to identify local plants, manage weeds, and mitigate fire risk. This will occur thought the 24 days of activities and the two workshops. The workshop format will feature local video clips and highly qualified speakers teaching each community how to use the resource and build knowledge to manage local flora and adapt to climate change impacts on vegetation on their land, especially living in fire-prone areas. This will strengthen the connection between residents and landowners with native ecosystems and wildlife and native flora.
Founded as a separate national not-for-profit by local independent brewery Stone & Wood in 2018, the inGrained Foundation works to generate and direct donations to grassroots Northern Rivers charities to assist capacity-building in the region. inGrained Foundation director James Perrin said the Grants Committee is thrilled with the results from the Grants Program 2020.
“We couldn’t be happier with this year’s Grants Program,” James said. “We are looking forward to seeing recipients’ different social and environmental projects come to life over the next 12 months and to hearing about their ongoing impact.”
For more information about the inGrained Foundation, visit ingrainedfoundation.com.au.