The aim of Gondwana Link is to conserve and reconnect the natural vegetation of south Western Australia. Part of the Gondwana Link initiative is the Peniup project. The Peniup project was started in 2007 when a 2406ha property was purchased by Greening Australia and Bush Heritage Australia. This property had previously been used for agricultural purposes and the land was significantly degraded. As well as the poor quality of the land, significant habitat fragmentation has occurred.
The Peniup Project aims to:
– Re-establish a self-replicating biologically diverse plant system
– Assist with carbon sequestration
– Combat habitat fragmentation
How did they do it?
Using past attempts of re-seeding land, the Peniup Project used the following techniques to ensure a successful project:
– Soil testing was undertaken and a soil map produced in order to determine which plant types flourish in which soil types
– Seeds were collected from around the Peniup area for planting with a specially designed tool for a natural structure of plants
– Planting of seedlings was also undertaken
– Seeds were collected from the area so they would have similar genetic structure to plants would naturally be found there
What did I do?
Due to an injury I was unable to complete any field work. As such, I assisted Dr David Freudenberger with data compilation for the Peniup project. It was my role to look through photographs of each site from 2014, determine which site they were from and place them in a format so they can be easily compared with photos taken in previous years.
Results so far
Over 100 species have been planted over 250ha. The plants are flourishing and growing, some have begun to die out due to the lifecycle of the plants. You can see how different the landscape looked in 2008 compared to 2012.
Being part of a project on such a large scale is quite phenomenal. The coordination and collaboration required for this project are immense and I am just beginning to fully understand it. Speaking with Dr. Freudenberger, I have come to the realisation that while several re-planting projects have taken place world-wide, very few of them are on such a scale or have the same amount of documentation as the Peniup Project as part of the Gondwana Link initiative. The level of detail undertaken in the Peniup restoration project ensures the successful future of the project and on a larger scale the Gondwana Link initiative.
While I was disappointed not to be able to conduct any field work, it was a great experience to get a feel of such an immense and important project.
By Madeline Brewer