As these are important habitat areas and ecological restoration zones within The Cape, people are asked to refrain from entering the marked areas and observe any signage that is displayed.
Project KOALA was initiated in February 2021 based on a community initiative to re-establish treed vegetation in The Cape combined with an expansion of habitat for the local koala population of Cape Paterson.
The project engaged the services of local ecologists and liaised with Parks Victoria to determine existing tree species locations and boundaries with the bordering Yallock-Bulluk Marine and Coastal Park (YBMCP) to establish the re-vegetation strategy.
Using the mini-forest principles of Japanese ecologist Miyawaki, a series of high density, layered plantings of mixed indigenous plant species will be planted in a number of stepping stones contained in five zones, linking the YBMCP in the south-east of The Cape to the main central creek line restoration which runs north-south through the estate and a further east-west corridor toward Wilson Rd. The plantings will occur over the coming years.
The first zone to be established in September 2021 is Zone C1. This is an important linkage area on high ground to the west of the off-leash dog park, connecting two mature stands of Eucalyptus viminalis ssp pryoriana (Coastal Manna Gum). 600 plants (comprising 8 different species in four layers) will be planted in the area in 10 mini-forest plots and two control-comparison plots. The plants have been sourced from local seed stock from the Wonthaggi Seed Bank and Melaleuca Nursery.
The First Community Preparation Day – July 2021
First Community Planting Day – 11th September 2021 – a great success!
The first community planting of 600 plants in the 12 mini-plots (each of about 44 plants in 12 sq m) was completed by around 30 residents and owners over 3 sessions in 6 hours in accordance with COVID restrictions. All plants were planted in improved soil, fertilised, treated and guarded, with vegetation structure placed among the plots providing further protection and habitat for small fauna and birds. Each plot will now be maintained be designated custodian(s) until they are well established.
Our first interested visitor in October 2021
A very healthy (…. and tired) Koala visited the mini-plots for a check and settled into a nearby mature Coastal Manna in mid October 2021. It needs to wait a few more years for the plots to develop into a safe habitat an secure food source!
One year on – the plots in early September 2022
We have had a great success rate and most of the plots are growing well, particularly those in the more protected areas on the west side of the zone against the thick remnant bush. There has been some damage from rabbits, especially against the grasses and ground covers. Bracken is the dominant weed that requires some hand weeding. Most guards have been removed from the plants and some custodians have chosen to stake and tie there trees while others are letting them grow naturally without any support.