3 Things You Can Do To Save These Endangered Animals Saving the Tuart Forest

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Saving the Tuart Forest

The high Tuart Forest (Eucalyptus Gomphocephala) located between Busselton and Capel in Western Australia’s scenic south west, is one of the rarest forest ecosystems in the world. The trees are named after the local Wardandi people, Too-art, and the forest is a diverse ecosystem and home to over 80 species of birds, reptiles, frogs, bats and many animals, including a number of endangered species such as western belltail. and Western Brushtail Possums, Chuditch or Native Cat and Quenda or Southern Brown Bandicoot.

Before the white settlement of the south west, the Tuart Forest stretched 400 km from present-day north of Perth to Dunsborough near Cape Naturaliste. Now after 175 years of white settlement, less than 30,000 hectares remain, and at that, less than 10% of the original floor.

The reasons for the decline are many, but 3 in particular seem to dominate:

Cleaning. In a settlement with poor soils and only seasonal rainfall, the Tuart forest was at the same time one of the most fertile and was thus cleared for agriculture and city areas and

Cuttings. Tuart was highly valued for its hard timber, which was widely used for shipbuilding, railway trucks, bridges, mill gears, flooring, stair treads, etc. By 1904 only 40,000 Ha remained

Grazing. Beginning as early as the 1830s, much of the Tuart Forest was leased and fenced by the early 1900s. Clover and grasses were introduced while native plants thought to be poisonous to stock such as Zamias were cleared. Even after the Tuart Forest was protected in 1918 as State Forest No. 1, cattle grazing still continued under the tall trees. Although cattle have now been removed since the declaration of the 2049Ha National Park in 1987, Western Gray Kangaroos have taken their place, breeding in large numbers. High on their favorite menu list are the new Tuart trees!

In the early 2000s there were many protests about a proposed mineral sands mine within the Tuart forest, with the predictable “Save the Tuart forest” stickers and protests, etc. Eventually mining continued, but under strict guidelines and conditions (including reforestation), one of which was that the miner undertake a comprehensive survey to create a list and replant native understory, as well as replacing Tuart trees. Mining has now ended and rehabilitation has begun.

An observant visitor to the forest today might notice the lack of young Tuarts and the proliferation of weeds such as the Arum Lily, and be tempted to conclude that once the old trees finally die, the Tuart forest would cease to exist.

So both the mining company at its old mine and the Department of Conservation (DEC) have started replanting programs not only of the new Tuart trees but also of the range of understory plants which the study showed were endemic to the forest. The programs would be a waste of resources if that were all, but the rehabilitation areas are surrounded by high fences to keep the kangaroos out until the new trees and other vegetation are large enough to survive. the appetite of the kangaroo.

A new section of this can be seen on the site of what was an old Department of Forestry pine plantation near Inn the Tuarts Guest Lodge, the only accommodation in the Tuart Forest, at the end of Rushleigh Rd, off the Tuart Tourist Drive , about 7 km north-east of Busselton city centre. Another notable rehabilitation site is near the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary Bird Sanctuary, accessed by the Spotlight Possum Walk near the historic Wonnerup House, off Layman Rd. The old mining site is visible from Tuart Drive about 12km from Busselton, but is not accessible to the public at this stage, although inspections may be possible by prior arrangement.

So by removing a pine plantation, clearing and mining sand and excluding native kangaroos, the future of Tuart Forest is a little more secure.

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