Bushland restoration at Macquarie
Rare and vulnerable bushland, once common across Sydney’s northern suburbs, is making a comeback in a remote corner of the Macquarie University grounds.
From high vantage points of central campus, a dense stand of trees can be seen fronting part of the Mars Creek lake and stretching away towards our north-western boundary.
Parts of this forest were planted decades ago by University grounds staff. However a large central area of some 3.5 hectares is a type of native Sydney bush vegetation now considered critically endangered.
Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (STIF) once covered many hundreds of hectares in Sydney’s northern and inner western suburbs. This vegetation is adapted to grow in areas of relatively high rainfall on soils with a high clay content. Such soils and climate also favoured clearing of STIF for agricultural uses, and hence today only 4.5% of the original extent of STIF remains standing, mostly in tiny fragments of well below one hectare in size.
Macquarie University is aiding the effort to retain and recover viable remnants of Turpentine Ironbark Forest. In May 2010, we began a process of assisted natural regeneration for our fairly large patch of the vegetation community on the campus, which was heavily affected by weeds.
At the primary stage of the work, invasive weeds were removed or controlled by Bush Regenerators. This treatment created a germination trigger to native seed still stored in the topsoil. Now, a diverse native ground layer of grasses and herbs has developed.
With persistence and time, the risks of weed proliferation will decline, and a new generation of trees and shrubs emerge.