|Applied Marine Ecology|
|Aquatic Species Ecology|
|Food Webs and Invertebrates Community Dynamics|
|Invasive Species (Wetlands)|
|Platypus Conservation Initiative|
|River Red Gum Dynamics and Management|
|Wetland Ecology and Stable Isotopes|
|Invasive Species (Terrestrial)|
|Spatial Analyses and GIS|
|Vegetation Survey and Mapping|
South-eastern Australia's grassy woodland ecosystems support a unique and diverse flora and fauna. Millions of hectares of these woodlands were converted into productive agricultural land. In western Sydney more than 100,000 ha of Cumberland Plain Woodland were reduced to small fragments before the end of the nineteenth century. During the post-war era, land use began to change as Sydney's urban population grew. Farmlands between Prospect Reservoir and Hoxton Park were acquired in the 1980s to create a greenbelt within the developing urban region of western Sydney. As part of a vision to recreate Cumberland Plain Woodland (which was later listed as a Critically Endangered ecological community) a thousand hectares of the green belt were planted with locally native trees and shrubs over the decade from 1992 to 2002. In 2002, we began our research to monitor the success of these plantings.
The aim of this project is to develop robust methods for evaluating the success of native woodland restoration on retired agricultural land and apply them to a major restoration project.
Key Research Questions
To answer these questions, we are studying the communities of plants, birds and invertebrates within plantings of different ages and comparing them to stands of Cumberland Plain Woodland and untreated pastures.
After the first ten years, many of the planted trees had survived and begun to develop into saplings, and the dense groundlayer of weedy grasses had begun to thin beneath the planted trees.
However, there was little evidence of the new plant community developing into Cumberland Plain Woodland or differentiating from untreated pastures, with few native plant species having entered the system in addition to those planted. Studies of invertebrate communities returned similar results.
We are currently investigating changes in plant and bird communities of the plantings over the 20 years since their establishment. Vegetation sampling was completed in 2013 and bird sampling is currently underway.
IMAGES: Top Left: 1995 Revegetation Site (Katy Wilkins & Tanya Mason); Top Right: 2002 Revegetation Site (David Keith & Katy Wilkins); Bottom Left: Pasture Site (Renee Woodward); Bottom Right: Remnant Woodland Site
Tel: +61 2 9385 8296 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Address: Room 508, Building D26, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW
Authorised by Professor Richard Kingsford, Director | CRICOS Provider Code 00098G | ABN 57 195 873 179