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Protecting Properties, Connecting People

Protecting biodiversity, reducing bushfire risk and strengthening community

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Photo: Photo: Annette Ruzicka

Protecting Properties, Connecting People is a great example of protecting biodiversity, reducing bushfire risk and strengthening community. 

In partnership with the Wurundjeri Tribe, the Traditional Owners of the Dandenongs, we have been working with private landowners in the Dandenong Ranges to improve the biodiversity of their properties. Together, we’ve been controlling woody weeds which helps reduce bushfire risk in areas where native plants and animals don’t naturally rely on fire to thrive.

In 2016, Trust for Nature obtained funding under Round 2 of the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Reduction Community Grants program. The Protecting Properties, Connecting People project, for which the funding was granted, aimed to assist at least 10 covenanted property owners in the Dandenong Ranges improve their biodiversity values and reduce bushfire risk by controlling high-threat weed species. The Traditional Owners of the Dandenongs, the Wurundjeri Tribe, and their Our Country or ‘Narrap’ team, were engaged to carry out the works.

The project is now complete, with results well exceeding original targets.

“Seventeen private properties covering more than 100 hectares have now been treated in Yellingbo, Monbulk, Emerald, Olinda, Belgrave South, Selby and Lysterfield.”

The team also had the opportunity to work on the Trust for Nature-owned property ‘Kopelis’ and Yarra Ranges Council’s Butterfield Reserve. The project has facilitated knowledge sharing between the Wurundjeri, TFN and private land holders whilst protecting some of the highest quality remnants of native vegetation and habitat on private land within the Dandenongs.

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Photo: Photo: Annette Ruzicka

High-threat weed species were controlled on 17 private properties, across an area of more than 100 hectares. 

The weed works were carried out by the Wurundjeri Tribe’s Narrap team. This work was completed according to new conservation management plans that were developed for each property. The plans prioritised high biomass, high threat and highly flammable woody weeds for removal. The project enables knowledge transfer of traditional bushland techniques which have been used by Indigenous people for thousands of years. Targeted weeds included Cedar Wattle, English Broom, Portugal Laurel, Cape Ivy, Blackberry and English Holly.

Snapshot

Trust for Nature priority species covered:
The area is home to threatened species including the Helmeted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix), Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) and White Star-bush (Asterolasia asteriscophora ssp. albiflora)

Region:
Port Phillip & Westernport

Geographic area of project:
Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Ranges

Trust for Nature project contact:
Ben Cullen

Project partners:

  • Australian Government, through the National Landcare Programme
  • Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council
  • Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority

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