We are helping the original rainforest to return along 2 km of creek bank and extending it across the neighbouring floodplain. We use bush regeneration and control weeds, with the aim of restoring a resilient natural environment containing a diversity of plants, animals and fungi. See Current Reports for what we have been doing lately (updated every two months).
The original lowland subtropical rainforest was progressively cleared between 1880 and 1940. Patches of it survived along Ourimbah Creek, as can be seen on the 1941 air photograph. After 1941, clearing slowed down, especially when a weir was built in 1977 so that the creek could provide town water. Seedlings from remnant stands of trees established themseves in the surrounding floodplain. Our group's efforts to protect the area started in 2000. Simply by planting pioneer species and controlling weeds, the forest has expanded amazingly, all around the groves of the original ancient trees. There is now a profusion of saplings, making a thriving young rainforest. Many kinds of animals and fungi find a congenial home in this regenerating forest, making it a "hot spot" of biodiversity. Although some 350 or so species of native biota have so far been listed many more are waiting to be identified. Give us a call if you would like to help us with that task!
We are progressively documenting all the life forms that depend on our plant species. You can see how far we have got under ferns, flowering plants, frogs, fungi and birds.
Below are two tree species of our site, both in the family Myrtaceae and both considered vulnerable in the endangered species list.
This upper one is the magenta lilly pilly, Syzigium paniculatum. It is a small tree of subtropical rainforest and characteristic of Ourimbah Creek, although rare elsewhere. It's one of the least inflammable of trees, so it's a good species to plant near your house if you are in a bushfire-prone area. Possums like to browse its foliage, and our powerful owls eat the possums, so it's a case of an endangered tree making an endangered owl less so.This lower one is the Wyong paperbark, Melaleuca biconvexa. It's a tree of the backswamps on the floodplain, where its characteristic canopy stands out in air photographs. It burns readily and, in the past, fire probably aided its spread by getting rid of rainforest competition. If cut to the ground by fire it sprouts again from suckers that form on the roots.