FORESTS NSW Macquarie Region has commenced a 12 month work plan to rehabilitate sensitive ecosystems damaged by 4WDs and trail bikes operating off designated forest roads on the Newnes Plateau.
Forests NSW Acting Stewardship forester Jack Cotterill said this program builds on work carried out by the Save Our Swamps project, led locally by the Blue Mountains City Council and Lithgow City Council and helped restore federally listed temperate highland peat swamps.
“Forests NSW crews have successfully prepared a number of damaged sites mechanically to help secure them from further damage and assist native seed to germinate as quickly as possible,” he said.
“The Bush Doctor, a specialised Blue Mountains based bush land regeneration contractor, has also worked with Forests NSW to collect and arrange local plant material (all sourced in situ) on site to help damaged areas regenerate.
“Sites adjacent to water features or on steep terrain were also fitted with natural and artificial sediment traps to help reduce the impact on native aquatic life.”
Mr Cotterill said restricting unauthorised 4WD and motorcycle access to sensitive environmental features was vital to ensure their conservation.
“Illegal disturbance of the forest degrades the environment by removing important ground covering vegetation, disturbing habitat, creating new water channels, adding sediment to waterways and providing an avenue for litter to enter the forest,” he said.
Mr Cotterill said Forests NSW was appealing to the
public to only use designated-marked trails when visiting.
“Please stick to the designated trails to help protect our forests and ensure sustainable recreation can be enjoyed by future generations,” he said.
Mr Cotterill said Forests NSW Stewardship team was working hard to tackle an important and challenging problem; however, community cooperation was ultimately required to ensure the success of this project.
“Forests NSW Macquarie Region looks forward to continuing to manage bushland sustainably for conservation and public use with ongoing community help,” he said.