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25,000 eucalyptus seedlings for koalas

Graham Hargreaves(Koala Hospital), Rob White (Grafton Nursery), Steve Withnall (Koala Hospital) and Chris Slade (Forestry Corporation)

More than 25,000 eucalyptus seedlings grown at Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Grafton nursery were delivered to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to support community tree-planting projects designed to increase koala habitat. Source: Timberbiz

Forestry Corporation’s Senior Manager Forest Stewardship Kathy Lyons said this year’s donation built on a successful giveaway last year, when the Koala Hospital distributed 10,000 donated seedlings to community members.

“We grow around half a million top quality eucalyptus seedlings each year to replant north coast plantations and have been supplying seedlings, tree forks and branches to the Koala Hospital for many years so we were delighted to grow and donate additional seedlings for this community project,” Ms Lyons said.

“The Koala Hospital began this giveaway last year to encourage the community to plant trees on cleared farmlands along the mid north coast – in particular along the coastal strip where there has been lots of koala habitat lost due to development. The demand was so overwhelming that we have more than doubled our donation to 25,000 seedlings this year.

“These seedlings were grown specifically as koala food trees alongside this year’s commercial crop to restock our timber plantations, so they are top grade and have been carefully nurtured for the past nine months. We specially selected the seeds to ensure they are well adapted to the local conditions and we have also developed a planting guide to help the community protect the seedlings during planting and ensure they survive and thrive.

“It’s currently planting season, so it’s the perfect time for a giveaway like this. Autumn is a good time to plant as soil moisture increases and the days are not so hot. It also allows the seedlings to establish their roots before winter conditions arrive.

“State forests are continually regrown and we will be planting half a million seedlings of our own in plantations throughout the north of the State over the coming weeks.

“The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital does great work and we are pleased to be able to support this initiative. We are also working with the Koala Hospital and the Department of Primary Industries to carry out in-depth research into how koalas use local forests and surrounding land by fitting koalas with radio tracking devices.”

Landholders interested in seedlings should contact the Koala Hospital on 6584 1522 to register.