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Active revegetation

Active revegetation involves the introduction and re-establishment of vegetation at a site using one or more methods. These can include planting of advanced tubestock germinated in nurseries, transplants obtained from within or external to the rehabilitation site, direct seeding or hydromulching. Active revegetation is most appropriate for sites where native vegetation has been removed and is not naturally recruiting, for sites where there is a need to establish vegetation cover as quickly as possible to avoid soil erosion risks, or sites where implementation of engineered solutions have disturbed vegetation.

Active revegetation involving planting of tubestock reared from local provenance seed, Sheepstation Creek floodplain near Ayr, Burdekin River Basin North Queensland. Photo by J. Tait

Active revegetation can be used to support assisted natural regeneration by establishing pioneer species or founder populations for the natural regeneration processes. It is also used to revegetate the more disturbed areas of a site where assisted regeneration is not viable.

Active revegetation is most commonly conducted for terrestrial plant species or emergent aquatic macrophytes in the riparian zone adjoining stream channels or on exposed areas of the riverbed within the channel.

Potential benefits from this intervention:

  • Accelerate establishment of vegetation cover at highly disturbed sites that include exposed soil (e.g. via hydromulching).
  • Re-establish native plant species that have been lost from sites due to historical disturbance.
  • Engender community ownership of rehabilitation sites via direct involvement in vegetation establishment (e.g. tree planting).
  • Create habitat conditions and seed sources that lead to re-establishment of natural regeneration processes.
  • Reduced instream temperature due to localised shading. Shading can provide fish habitat.
  • Provides terrestrial wildlife corridors.
  • A vegetated riparian zone may lower the intensity of fire events.

Potential negative implication from this intervention:

  • Site preparation and maintenance activities can disturb a site’s natural regeneration capacity including residual seed stores.
  • Subject to method used, active revegetation is a relatively costly and resource intensive approach to vegetation re-establishment. It is mostly suited to smaller scale sites and where there are resources to support post revegetation maintenance.
  • Introduction of non-native or non-local provenance plants to a site if care is not exercised in the sourcing of seeds or plants.
  • Disturbance of Potential Acid Sulfate Soils or Actual Acid Sulfate Soils risks releasing elements toxic to fish and plants.

Intervention considerations:

  • Seek appropriate specialist advice and check legal obligations (e.g. permits).
  • The ability of remnant native vegetation on the site to support natural vegetation regenerative processes should be reviewed.
  • Determine the preclearing regional ecosystem type and associated plant species community that occurred on the site.
  • Species selections should consider appropriately mixed planting of pioneer and secondary species.
  • Consider if climate adjusted species may be appropriate where climate change could make local native vegetation more likely to fail.
  • Habitat and bank stabilisation objectives can help identify planting zones.
  • Changes to soil, moisture, climate and hydrology conditions from the historical preclear baseline may affect revegetation success.
  • Bank or soil erosion issues need to be addressed to provide a secure revegetation site.
  • Timing of revegetation should consider optimal seasonal climatic conditions, such as soil moisture, rainfall, flood, frost or fire risks.
  • Planting in rows is often the most efficient use of time and resources and maintains cost-effectiveness.
  • Protective measures (e.g. fencing, stakes, frost sleeves) may be required to secure plantings.
  • Sufficient resources are required to maintain plants until they are independently established and free of threats such as water stress, weeds, fire and stock. Planting smaller trees is recommended as they are at less risk of water stress.
  • Safety of volunteers and employees including seasonal exposures (e.g. heat) and high risk areas (e.g. crocodile presence in waterways or areas with soil contaminant risks).

Additional information

Publications:

Chenoweth EPLA and Bushland Restoration Services. 2012. South East Queensland Ecological Restoration Framework: Guideline. Prepared on behalf of SEQ Catchments and South East Queensland Local Governments, Brisbane.

Chenoweth EPLA and Bushland Restoration Services. 2012. South East Queensland Ecological Restoration Framework: Manual. Prepared on behalf of SEQ Catchments and South East Queensland Local Governments. Brisbane.

DEEDI. 2011. Grazing for Healthy Coastal wetlands: Guidelines for managing coastal wetlands in grazing systems. State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane.

Price, P. and Lovett, S. 1999. Riparian Land Management Technical Guidelines. LWRRDC. Canberra.

Rutherfurd, I.D., Jerie, K. and Marsh, N. 2000. A Rehabilitation Manual for Australian Streams, Volumes 1 and 2. CRC for Catchment Hydrology and LWRRDC. Canberra.

Links:

Resources - Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium


Last updated: 22 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2022) Active revegetation, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 July 2022. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/rehabilitation/rehab-process/step-4/intervention-options/active-revegetation-mod.html

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science