Planting for the Future: Regenerative and Restorative Agriculture

AUGUSTA MUTTON U6077630

Perrumba, an Aboriginal word for wattle blossom, is a permaculture-based farm in Bungonia, New South Wales. This land has been under the care of Debbie Hunt and Kieron Malone for over 7 years now, where they are almost fully self-sufficient, run environmental workshops, and share their expertise in permaculture and sustainability with the community. Bungonia is a spectacular part of our country, and Perrumba endeavours to preserve and protect this landscape and all of the native plants and animals that share it.

PROMOTING ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION AND RESTORATION

Debbie graciously invited me to Perrumba to experience working on regenerative and restorative agriculture. We spent the morning planting Eucalyptus trees and species of Casuarina, to support the local population of vulnerable Glossy Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami), which use Eucalypts and Casuarinas as food and habitat sources.

Source: Australian Museum.
Two Glossy Black Cockatoos.

We discussed the importance of retaining the current mature trees on the farm for their hollows and complex habitats, and the importance of planting new trees to promote the creation of habitat and food resources well into the future. The tree planting was done in a section of a previously cleared and grazed paddock, and was chosen as it would create not only habitat and food sources for the cockatoo in the future, but also exist as a corridor between surrounding woodland habitat, increasing the connectivity between populations of many species and ultimately reducing fragmentation.

Source: Augusta Mutton.
Eucalyptus and Casuarina planting at Perrumba Farm.

FRAGMENTATION AS A THREAT TO BIODIVERSITY

Throughout biodiversity research, fragmentation has been shown to be a major threat to the survival and gene flow of populations. Creating corridors for immigration and emigration, gene flow, and access to resources is essential to support healthy populations by reducing the risk of inbreeding and stochastic events (environmental and demographic). It is essential for private landowners to promote this sort of biodiversity conservation to ensure there is representative management of different ecosystems throughout the country, as parks and reserves are often insufficient. Creating flexible land management and monitoring methods is essential to prepare for the challenges of the future, including severe, unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change, and will ensure long-term conservation of the region and promote active learning through adaptive management.

Another way we contributed to biodiversity conservation throughout the day was by attracting pollinators using seed balls, which included the seeds of native and non-native flowers. This promotes natural systems to function in favour of food production, by encouraging a diversity of pollinators. This system also stimulates tree regeneration throughout the farm, as some seed balls included Eucalyptus seeds and were seasoned with paprika to keep the ants away!

Source: Augusta Mutton
Seed balls made of clay air drying, in preparation to be cast throughout regeneration areas at Perrumba.

LOCAL LEVEL CONSERVATION

The lifestyle and activities carried out at Perrumba support conservation on many levels, particularly by promoting ecosystem function, protecting and enhancing the environment, and planning for the future. Their actions are providing more complex, resilient, connected, and sustainable ecosystems for populations and habitats to thrive. The importance of every contribution to the ecosystem is recognised at Perrumba; a holistic view of symbiotic human and environment interactions are represented through their values. From retaining fallen and mature trees for their habitat complexity, promoting pollinators like bees and birds, using chickens to turn over the soil, home-composting and recycling into the soil, acknowledging the different levels of ecosystem services, and most importantly, creating awareness in the community for sustainability and conservation, Perrumba is promoting local biodiversity.  

Source: Augusta Mutton
A sign at the entrance to Perrumba Farm, encompassing their values of supporting local wildlife.

This protected landscape is home to an impressive list of bird, reptile and mammal species, further suggesting how important private conservation, citizen science and community inclusion is to restoring and regenerating ecosystems.
The purpose of Debbie & Kieron’s work at Perrumba is predominantly for food security, self-sufficiency, and supporting local biodiversity, but is also focused on using the values of permaculture and regenerative agriculture to preserve and restore this beautiful part of Australia, leaving the land more functional and resilient than how they found it.

About Biodiversity Conservation Blog

I am an Associate Professor at The Australian National University and convene a (very awesome) course called Biodiversity Conservation. Myself and students in the course contribute to this blog.
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