Our members, the North East Bioregional Network (NEBN), have extended their efforts globally through their involvement in two global ecological projects: The EcoHealth Network, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The NEBN have featured their mammoth ‘Restore Skyline Tier’ project with the EcoHealth Network, and within the IUCN’s publication Guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors.
Connecting with a global community allows for knowledge sharing between long-term ecological restoration projects, increasing the knowledge base and effectiveness of ecological restoration across the globe.
Who are the NEBN and what are they up to?
The NEBN are dedicated to increasing conservation and biodiversity in North East Tasmania. They aim to increase dedicated Conservation Areas, Conservation Covenants, and improve connections between private land and Public Conservation Areas. They act to protect and enhance the region’s ecological values while also considering economic and social benefits for the local community.
The NEBN currently have several projects underway. These include:
- The East Coast Conservation Corridor
- Protection of Future Potential Production Forests in secure Conservation Reserves
- Green Job Guarantee Program
- Incorporating biodiversity into Local Planning Schemes
- Facilitating Conservation Covenants and Land for Wildlife registration on private land
- A range of ecological restoration projects
In all of these efforts, the NEBN works with a variety of government agencies, private companies, and community groups.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature
The IUCN have released a publication Guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors which looks at connectivity conservation in managing healthy ecosystems and conserving biodiversity. It provides a set of guidelines based on best practice and science for maintaining, enhancing and restoring ecological connectivity among and between protected areas.
”For the first time, this publication introduces a common definition and recommends formal recognition of ecological corridors to serve as critical building blocks of ecological networks in conjunction with protected areas”
The guidelines include 25 case studies of current approaches to conserving ecological connectivity, including the NEBN's Restore Skyline Tier project. The report lists the activities which have contributed to the improved landscape connectivity and these include:
- Creation of 30 permanent conservation covenants
- Employment and training of over 80 people through the NEBN
- Prohibition of new subdivisions
- Establishment of a North East Tasmania Land Trust
- Transfer of management of over 100,000 ha of public native forest from the Department of Forestry to that of National Parks and Wildlife in North East Tasmania.
- Release of a conservation action plan
- Consideration of connectivity conservation plans in municipal planning
- Connectivity conservation plans that explicitly seek to protect wildlife corridors and landscape linkages from inappropriate development and are legally binding
"By re-establishing the native ecosystem, this ecological corridor will reconnect protected coastal and hinterland areas."
The report commends the NEBN on their communication with partners, their knack for finding common interest and connecting different entities, as well as their success in ensuring long-term restoration through endowments.
The goal of the EcoHealth Network is to increase ties between ecological restoration projects across the globe, to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and ultimately improve the effectiveness of these projects and the public awareness surrounding them. The EcoHealth Network features the Restore Skyline Tier project on their website.
Restoring Skyline Tier
The ‘Restore Skyline Tier’ project is NEBNs largest ecological restoration project, and is also one of the largest of such projects in Tasmania!
The goal of Restore Skyline Tier is the restoration of 2,000ha of radiata pine plantation back to biodiverse native forest.
Watch the Restore Skyline Tier video by Environment Tasmania.
The key restoration efforts in this project involve:
- Removal of pine wildings from regenerating areas, native forest and State Forest
- Weed control
- Ecological burns
- Direct seeding with local native eucalypt species
The before and after photos of the project speak for themselves, showing a striking change in the landscape. The before photos (left) shows conditions following harvesting and ecological burning of the radiata pine plantation. The after photos (right), seven years later, shows the natural regeneration of the native forest as well as some direct seeding.
In 13 years, approximately 200 species of native plants have returned to the restoration areas!
The restoration works are protecting and enhancing significant biodiversity and conservation values, including habitat for six threatened flora species, potential habitat for at least ten threatened animal species, threatened vegetation communities, habitat for non-threatened native plants and animals and vegetation communities, and an important network of wetlands and riparian areas providing water quality benefits and conservation of aquatic habitat in streams that feed the coastal lagoons and estuaries.
We are so proud of the incredible efforts by the NEBN and would like to extend a huge thanks to the group, and to their president Todd Dudley for his consistent hard work. You can find out more about all of their projects on their website, and can check out some of Todd Dudley's achievements here.