It’s been some time since the last update on our precious Melaleuca irbyana groves at Riverton, so we’re pleased to share some new developments and photos of the progress!
What’s the latest?
In early 2021, Ecosure (a specialist environmental consultant) carefully collected seeds from the endangered Melaleuca irbyana (commonly known as weeping paperbark or swap tea-tree) onsite at Riverton. Over time, these were nurtured into seedlings and tubestock with the plan to enhance the Melaleuca irbyana population on site by planting a further 7,500 seedlings back into the protected revegetation zone.
We are pleased to announce that all 7,500 of these precious plants plus an additional 7,500 mixed Eucalyptus and Acacia species (15,000 plants in total) have now been planted into the nature reserve (highlighted below) to be protected, maintained and established as they mature.
Photo credit: Ecosure.
If you’re local to Riverton, you may have seen these little green sleeves popping up behind Stage Two, which are being used to keep these plants safe while they grow.
Why are we doing it?
Not only is Melaleuca irbyana endangered it is also extremely rare, growing only in flat areas that are periodically water-logged with poorly draining, heavy clay soils. As you can see from the map below, this species has a limited distribution where they naturally occur, including Jimboomba, Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley.
If we don’t work hard to keep this species protected, it could easily become extinct.
Why is this so important that this species does not become extinct?
The Melaleuca irbyana is an integral part of this local ecosystem. The work that AVJennings and Ecosure are undertaking at Riverton is key to the survival of not only this species but the health of a range of other Eucalyptus species. Protecting precious flora and maintaining healthy ecosystems attracts a range of local and migratory fauna and a diversity of plants in addition to strengthening the broader habitat and mirco-climate that surrounds it.
For instance, the Melaleuca irbyana flowers play a vital role in the provision of nectar for micro bats, flying foxes, birds and insects. These species are also key to pollinating the flowers so viable seed is produced and the development of this important ecosystem is supported. The restoration of these patches of Melaleuca irbyana are key to preserving this species. If we don’t protect and restore the Melaleuca irbyana, we risk losing many other species in the process.
AVJennings is committed to helping protect and manage these special areas for future generations to enjoy and for local wildlife to thrive. In the years to come, together with Ecosure, we will continue to nurture these precious plants in the revegetation zone by keeping them safe, watered, and free from weeds to give them the best chance of success. Come late Spring, the team will put in some additional plants to further bolster the population and will continue maintenance until the end of 2024. Longer term the space will be opened to the public with walking paths, seating and educational signage for residents to understand the significance of the species and carry on nurturing this habitat well into the future.
We look forward to sharing more updates and some before and after photos shortly!