Restoring the woodland after African olive invasion

Start date:
01 Jan 2006
End date:
31 Dec 2020
Researchers:
Dr Peter Cuneo, Jordan Scott, Dr Paul Gibson-Roy (Greening Australia), Samantha Craigie (Greening Australia) and Tim Berryman (Cumberland Plain Seeds)
Project sponsors:
NSW Environmental Trust Endeavour Energy
Project partners:
Greening Australia, Cumberland Plain Seeds, Australian Land and Fire Management, Macquarie University
Contact:
Dr Peter Cuneo

Project aims

  • Develop and refine control techniques for invasive African olive
  • Research cost effective techniques to re-establish native vegetation on degraded African olive sites
  • Maintain and develop seed production areas to provide a seed source for ecological restoration
  • Progressively restore full Cumberland Plain Woodland diversity on cleared African olive sites

Project Summary

Excellent progress is being made at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan (ABGMA) in controlling the aggressive woody weed African olive. With over 40 hectares of dense olive forest now removed, this research project is looking at the best techniques to restore the original Cumberland Plain Woodland plant diversity on these highly degraded sites. The re-establishment of a dense native grass cover is an excellent first step in ecological restoration, and high quality seed is now provided from our seed production area at PlantBank. Establishing local native grasses is a slow and tricky process, and research is now underway to find the best way to directly sow seed and establish grass plants on these sites.

Research Update

The native grass seed production area at PlantBank has been an outstanding success with over 13 million viable seeds harvested in the first summer season. After germination testing, we are now putting this valuable seed to work, and have direct seeded 5 kilometres of prepared strips (2 metres wide) in cleared olive areas. These grass strips are now germinating well, and look set to provide some much needed native grass cover and future seed source – an important first step in our ‘bottom up’ approach to restoring the original Cumberland Plain Woodland.