Fund boost for forest restoration

Efforts to revive the world’s only naturally occurring tuart forest have been boosted by $50,000 and the community group leading the charge is hopeful it will set the stage to restore the adjoining historic Ludlow settlement.

Forrest MHR Nola Marino announced the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group would receive the grant – the group’s biggest boost to date – through the Federal Government’s National Land Care Environment Grants program.

Group member Evelyn Taylor said the money would fund the planting of 75,000 tuart seedlings in a degraded area of the forest.

“It’s validating, that the Government recognises what we’re trying to do here,” she said.

“The forest is incredibly important. . . and we hope to eventually see the settlement (restored).” The Ludlow Tuart Forest once stretched from Perth to Busselton, but after years of logging and clearing, the forest now covers just 5 per cent of the area it once did.

Group member Des Donnelly said logging had been immensely lucrative for WA’s economy but it was imperative the forest was now taken care of through planting, thinning and eradication of weeds – including the arum lily – to allow for a healthy ecosystem.

Mr Donnelly said there were few animals and native wildflowers living in the forest but the situation could change dramatically in as little as a decade.

The forest also houses the degraded, yet historically significant, State Government-owned Ludlow Forestry Mill and Settlement.

In 2016, the Times reported residents of the cottages had been evicted, with the then-Department of Parks and Wildlife citing issues relating to their condition and the ability to maintain the properties.

The group hopes to eventually take over the lease of the settlement and restore it for historical and conservation purposes.

Source: Busselton Dunsborough Times.