Coastal Moonah Woodland (CMW) Community Restoration
This article is based on the research conducted in 2010 on the Bellarine Peninsula (Moxham C., Tuner V., Walker G., and Douglas I. (2010) A field guide to Costal Moonah Woodland in Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne, available at http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/204154/CoastalMoonahFieldGuide.pdf)
Image from Field Guide - an old coastal moonah tree
CMW is a plant community listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Remnant CMW is found most appropriately on calcareous dune systems in coastal Victoria. Such environments exist on the Bellarine Peninsula but are not always available or appropriate for CMW restoration. The result is that the CMWs are now declining and at risk of extinction. In particular, the Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata (moonah) is threatened.
This project is about restoration of land based on the understandings of the original environment. The landholders involved are mostly private with a longitudinal interest in land care and resources and expertise available for plant maintenance. CMWs include the easily propagated threatened moonah trees but a number of hard to propagate understory plants. This project involves research to determine more practical ways to propagate some of the species. Finally, the project includes a significant component of community education and capacity building.
Certain plants indicate remnant CMW areas:
herbs: Wumbea latiflolia, Parie debilis; shrubs: Pimelea serpyllifolia subsp. serpylifolia; trees: Acacia uncifolia, Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata.
Others are useful characteristic:
herbs: Clematis microphylla, Daucus glochidiatus, Dichondra repens; shrubs: Leucopogon parviflorus, Adriana quadripartite; trees: Leptospermum laevigatum.
And yet others are common:
grasses: Austrostipa flavescens, Poa labillardierei; shrubs: Alyxia buxifolia, Rhagodia candolleana, Tatragonia implexicoma; trees: Allocausuarina verticillata.
The BLG Indigenous Nursery will be assisted to propagate as many of these species as possible. All moonah trees provided for the project will be accompanied by a suitable companion plant from the list above.
CMWs are vulnerable to weeds:
woody weeds: Polygala myrtifolia, rhamnius alaternus, chrysanthemoides monilifera, coprosma repens;
herbaceous weeds: Asparagus asparagoides, Sonchus oleraceus, Silene vulgaris, Delairea odorata;
exotic grasses: Vulpia spp. and Aira spp., Ehrharta erecta & E. longiflora, Catapodium rigidum, Lagurus ovatus
Due to the fragile nature of CWS, weeding should be undertaken with great care and skill only. Soil should not be disturbed, herbicides should be used sparingly, steaming may be appropriate. Disposal of removed plants is risky and habitat temporarily destroyed may need replacement.