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Kanmantoo grassy woodland project lands $1.3 million grant
The Kanmantoo Grassy Woodland Revegetation Program has received a Native Vegetation Council Hills and Fleurieu Revegetation Grant of over $1.3 million.
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The Kanmantoo Grassy Woodland Revegetation Program will revegetate 161 hectares of open grassy woodlands at Kanmantoo over nine years, thanks to a state grant of over $1.3 million.
The project, led by the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association (GWLAP), will focus on the peppermint box (Eucalyptus odorata) and drooping sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) open grassy woodlands at Kanmantoo.
Peppermint box grassy woodland of South Australia is a critically endangered vegetation type that requires priority protection and restoration.
GWLAP general manager Ross Oke was pleased with the grant, as it would help to restore the Kanmantoo grassy woodlands, which have been heavily cleared through past land uses.
“It’s a really important boost to supporting ecological restoration that’s much needed in this area, so we’re very grateful for that,” Mr Oke said.
“It’s also great to have a project that’s over a reasonable length of time where you can actually see things changing as you go through and adapt, rather than year-on-year funding.”
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Mr Oke said that drooping sheoak trees are often recognisable by having leaves only on the top branches, as kangaroos eat the leaves off the lower branches, finding them “particularly palatable”.
“We will most likely put larger, steel-mesh guards around [the sheoaks], depending upon how much grazing pressure is coming from kangaroos,” he said.
The way kangaroos can alter the visual appearance of drooping sheoaks is a good example of how members of an ecosystem affect each other.
Another example is how changes to habitats – good and bad – affect birdlife, such as the declining woodland bird species around Kanmantoo, including the exotically named yet vulnerable diamond firetail.
Mr Oke spoke about how the revegetation program was important for preserving the diamond firetails and other woodland birds in the area.
“From a broader biodiversity perspective, there’s a suite of declining birds throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges,” he said.
“So this habitat will be vital for diamond firetails and elegant parrots nearby – they’ll move into these areas, and then hopefully these populations will be be bolstered to the habitats that we’re providing.”
“There are probably four hotspots [in SA] where populations are holding on, so it’s really important to focus attention in those areas to bolster the populations.”
Mr Oke praised the various stakeholders who’ve been actively working to improve Kanmantoo’s open grassy woodlands, including the Kanmantoo Callington Landcare group, the Kanmantoo Callington Community Consultative Committee and the five landowners whose adjoining properties are being used for this project.
“The landowners have been very enthusiastic,” he said.
“Each of the properties will be eligible for a heritage agreement on their property to protect the reconstructed habitat into perpetuity, so that’s pretty significant, and getting five landholders all together is a great outcome.”