Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group call on volunteers to plant seedlings

Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group committee members Evelyn Taylor and Bill Biggins are calling for volunteers to help them plant 25,000 seedlings to help restore the forest.
Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group committee members Evelyn Taylor and Bill Biggins are calling for volunteers to help them plant 25,000 seedlings to help restore the forest.

More than 50,000 tuart trees have been planted in Ludlow Tuart Forest thanks to a group of dedicated community members who are going to great lengths to save the forest.

Ludlow Tuart Forest is the only remaining forest in the world where a particular species of tuart tree (eucalyptus gomphocephal) grows.

Since the 1980's the forest has been in decline when forestry ended with only 3 per cent remaining.

Urbanisation, farming and sand mining have all led to its degradation.

The Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group formed in 2018 to bring the forest back to its former glory and have since planted 55,000 seedlings with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group committee member Evelyn Taylor said the tuarts that were first planted two years ago now stood at two-metres tall.

"It is quite impressive to see them and that it has actually happened," she said.

"It used to be an extensive forest of 110,000 hectares, it is now 3,000 hectares. The forest used to run from south of Busselton to north of Perth.

"The very tall tuarts were in the Ludlow Tuart Forest and that is what we are trying to replicate."

Ms Taylor said when the settlement started people needed to earn a living so they went and cut the forest down.

"Unfortunately it was very close the coast so it could be easily taken, and it was a really good hard wood that could be used for all sorts of things, strangely in India, South East Asia and Europe," she said.

"The wood was for rolling stocks for wagons and things like that because it was dense timber.

"I think we all feel a little bit sad that we did not think about the degradation of the forest a little bit earlier.

"All the really good trees were milled and the not-so-good trees were still in the forest so we have a very degraded forest.

"We've had no fire in the forest because part of this forest is National Park, in the past a fire was not permitted in a prescribed burning system.

"Because there has been no fire there has been no regeneration."

The particular species of tuart that grows in the forest requires fire, an ash bed or water smoke to germinate.

The group have put together a plan and are about to plant seedlings for the third year in a row and would like help from community members to volunteer.

Ms Taylor said they would like the community know about opportunities that are available so they can help with planting.

"Each planting year we've had huge support from the community and this year we plan on planting 25,000 trees," she said.

"More than 1,000 people from the community have planted a tree in the forest in the last three years.

"It is an opportunity for people to feel like they are making a difference.

"People are concerned about environmental issues, but think what can they do and how can they affect it. This way you can."

Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group secretary Bill Biggins said they currently had 270 school students who were going to help plant the seedlings.

"They get to plant around 25 trees each and they love it, it is something they can remember forever," he said.

Mr Biggins said they would like to welcome volunteers from the public for a few weekends in June.

To register your interest please visit the website ludlowtuartforest.org.au/tuart-seedling-planting-2021/.

This story Saving the world's only tuart forest of its kind first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.