A recent project completed by Queensland Ecologists in Brisbane proved that developing and implementing Rehabilitation Plans need not be a costly undertaking. An ideal Rehabilitation Plan considers and incorporates the existing on-ground conditions and works within the parameters of the site’s constraints. Possible considerations include the following.
1. Encouraging establishment of the native soil seed bank rather than broad-scale planting. This ensures you’re regenerating with local provenance plants which are better adapted and suited to the site conditions rather than bulk nursery sourced plants. If you need to increase vegetative cover on depleted areas consider collecting seed from the local area for on-growing in a nursery.
2. Increasing the density and cover of existing hardy native species, even if diversity is low, rather than trying to introduce more delicate species for the sake of increasing biodiversity in the short term. Diversity of species will generally be achieved over time, when the conditions have changed to suit the species.
3. Using materials which are already available at the site in the rehabilitation process. It takes more time upfront to assess what is available, but provides cost savings down the track by negating the need to order and supply unnecessary materials. An example is the placement of rocks or logs along eroded areas to slow the flow of water.
4. Undertaking weed control at the most opportune times for effective treatment, rather than at structured times over the year. Assessment of the weed species and their ecology would be necessary. As a general rule, make sure treatment occurs during times of growth – after rainfall and in mild temperatures.
Rehabilitation Plans, Revegetation Plans, and Vegetation Management Plans can all be prepared in a way that complements existing natural values. It just takes a little more planning and a comprehensive site assessment by an experienced Ecologist.