Shrubs sprouting and birds are back at planting sites

September 23rd, 2020

It only takes a few minutes among the community shrub plantings at Ginninderra to see and hear the transformation that is taking place across the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands and Dry Forest sites.

Following excellent autumn and winter rainfall, after a very dry and hot summer,­­­ a host of native shrubs are springing into blossom among the green canvas of spring at Ginninderra.

A thick layer of shrubs, some towering over 3-4 metres, can now be found across many of the plots where local residents and community volunteers planted around 3500 shrubs into two zones of the  Box Gum Woodland in 2017.

Just as pleasing as this wall of vegetation is the visible and audible evidence of native birds, according to CSIRO ecologist, Jacqui Stol.

One of CSIRO’s key goals in running the community shrub planting days in 2017 and 2018 was to restore healthy biodiversity and habitat for native birds as well as insects, possums, gliders and reptiles in these areas of high conservation value.

“Once upon a time these woodlands had many naturally occurring groves of shrubs like these. It’s been wonderful to see the amount of growth from the tiny tubestock into a diverse patchy mosaic of flowering wattles and other shrubs and providing valuable wildlife habitat.”

On the ridge where community volunteers planted shrubs among the scribbly gums and Dry Forest trees in 2018, the hot and dry conditions of 2019 and last summer have had more of an impact on growth and survival rates. Nevertheless, there’s a good cover of shrubs in these plots beginning to create the understory habitat previously lost over years of European settlement and agricultural land use.

Volunteers from the local community planted 1500 shrubs into the Dry Forest zone making a total of 5000 shrubs across the two years of community plantings.

Across South-East Australia, the Box Gum Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands is classed as an endangered community, as only 10% of these remain, and only about 5% remain in good condition.

The community shrub plantings are part of a project to improve the health and quality of these woodlands in areas identified for future conservation on Canberra’s urban fringe.


Tall green trees in a field of green grass. A wall of shrubs at the site of this 2017 planting
A dry field with a large grey and brown tree in the centre Ridge site of the Dry Forest planting in 2018
A green field with trees growing. Hot and dry conditions in 2019 and over 2019/20 summer have had more of an impact on growth and survival rates for some of the 2018 plots