Rainforest Resilience – looking after the future of our forests

As part of our Landcare-led Bushfire Recovery Grant, Barung Landcare has been able to establish a Rainforest Resilience project which is supporting landholders to protect and restore rainforest vegetation across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 

The aim of the project has been to:

  • Expand the Barung Landcare Native Plant Nursery production to be able to propagate more native rainforest plants 
  • Work with key scientists and researchers on threatened species recovery with a focus on the Southern Pink Underwing Moth
  • Support landholders with skills and knowledge to build rainforest resilience on their properties and provide ideal habitat for the Southern Pink Underwing Moth 
  • Supply landholders with appropriate plants for revegetation activities 
  • Create an ongoing community of support for local landholders
  • Continue to work together as a community to restore and protect rainforest vegetation across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

As part of the grant, we were able to expand our nursery operations and propagate additional plants which then allowed us to successfully allocate 10,000 native rainforest plants to eligible landholders who are working to restore or extend rainforest vegetation on their property. 25 properties were involved in the revegetation aspect and we were able to support over 40 properties to carry out other rainforest restoration activities.

Many participating landholders have prime habitat for the Southern Pink Underwing Moth (Phyllodes imperialis subsp. smithersi) and are also improving this existing habitat by clearing weeds and improving the quality of rainforest remnants, which is a key need for the survival of this species. 

By managing the edges of their forests, they are also reducing the risk of further weed incursion, as well as the risk of fire which are both key threats to the Southern Pink Underwing Moth and rainforests in general. 

Landholders doing their part to restore and extend rainforest vegetation on their property

The grant has also supported us to deliver a range of workshops and information sessions on the topics of bush regeneration, native plant identification and propagation, as well as rainforest resilience. Landholders who attended our events were interested in learning more about how to look after vegetation on their property, build resilience in rainforest ecosystems (particularly in the face of a changing climate), meet other landholders in the area, and learn more about how they can get involved in conservation efforts for the Southern Pink Underwing Moth. 

We worked closely with Dr Mark Runkovski from Natura Pacific, and Dr Bonni Yee from Native Plants Queensland to improve the ways we collect and propagate more Carronia vine (Carronia multisepalea), so that we can distribute more of these host plants for the Southern Pink Underwing Moth into the landscape.

One of the realisations of this project was that we need more coordinated seed collection activities happening, and so over summer we put a call out to landholders and people working in the environment industry to be on the look out for Carronia vine seed. Lake Baroon Catchment Care were a huge contributor, and Sunshine Coast Council’s Land for Wildlife team were also helpful in putting the call out. A number of local landholders and staff of these organisations helped collect seed, particularly from sites that were inaccessible and difficult to reach due to the wet weather. Now we have a healthy batch of vines growing in the nursery that we will be able to give these out next year.

We also hosted an environmental film night on the Southern Pink Underwing Moth at our Porters Lane nursery, where landholders learnt more about the moth, its survival and how landholders could help in the cause for its conservation.

The film presented by Dr Mark Runkovski “Back from the Brink – Southern Pink Underwing” can be viewed below.

Over 50 Carronia vines were distributed on the evening to go back into suitable rainforest habitat and hopefully create more breeding sites for the moth into the future.

Cheers to that! Landholders celebrating their project as they plant their Carronia vine

The grant has now been completed, but the work of restoring and building resilience in our rainforests is far from over. 

Barung Landcare will continue to seek funding and work with a range of organisations, educators and researchers to continue to provide resources and the latest information to support landholders to look after rainforests and bring threatened species back from the brink of extinction. 

The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project has been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat