The woodland reclamation project at Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary in Linton is a great example of how resilient nature is. The 535-hectare Sanctuary was originally generously donated to Trust for Nature, BirdLife Australia, and Parks Victoria by Gordon Clarke. Fifty hectares of the Sanctuary was a pine plantation established in the 1960s and harvested in 2015.
After it was cleared, pine seedlings threatened to revert the site to a plantation; however since native woodland also surrounds the site eucalypts, shrubs, sedges and grasses were also happily colonising the area with no encouragement.
What to do about the pine seedlings? The older they got, the more expensive it would be to remove them. The solution was labour intensive but simple: brush cutters. Cutting the pines off at ground level stopped them from sprouting. It was delicate work as the contractors manoeuvred around young native trees, including eucalypts and wattles. The work was possible thanks to a grant from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-ground Action program which enabled Trust for Nature to employ local contractors who specialised in plantation management.
The technique has been extremely successful and the site is returning to its former glory days when it was home to threatened birds including Painted Honeyeater, Powerful Owl, Spotted Quail-thrush, Black-eared Cuckoo, Diamond Firetail, and Grey Goshawk (white morph) which live in the rest of the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary.