A Seed is Sown
Goldfields Revegetation has been concerned with environmental
issues in the goldfields region of Victoria, northwest of Melbourne for many years.
This concern came about because the founding owner started to see changes in the
natural environment. She grew up on a family farm on the Goulburn
River and noticed changes
to water quality, increasing erosion and changes to vegetation.
As a result she began acquiring information about native vegetation in the
goldfields area and her knowledge of the threatened Box-Ironbark
forests, the trade mark ecosystem
of the region, became extensive.
The knowledge of indigenous vegetation assisted her to develop
her wildflower farm near Bendigo. Nowadays the nursery's knowledge of seed collection,
propagation, raising of seedlings and planting means
that it is a much sought after expert in the field of revegetation,
especially mine-site rehabilitation.
Goldfields Revegetation Pty Ltd, still produces cut
flowers in season but the main thrust of her business is supplying
advice to mining companies
in the area including Bendigo Mining NL, Perseverance Corporation
and Reef Mining NL.
The strong relationship with local mining ventures
broadened the nursery staff's knowledge and experience so that Goldfields
Revegetation Pty Ltd now offers services such as site inspections
The business is not just limited to supplying the mining industry.
Goldfields Revegetation also strongly believes in educating people so nursery staff are often
tours for schools, Landcare groups and resource management students
from various Universities and Colleges.
Goldfields Revegetation has
also supplied plants and seeds for the army at Puckapunyal, local
councils, Vicroads, Telstra, Catchment Management Authorities and
The Seedling Grows and Flourishes
One of Goldfield Revegetation's current projects is the rehabilitation
program at Bendigo Mining NL. The Bendigo goldfield was discovered
and ceased production 45 years ago after producing a total of 22
million ounces over its 103-year life.
Bendigo Mining NL purchased
the licenses and
infrastructure for the entire goldfield from WMC in 1992 and commenced
an active programme of exploration throughout the field.
`Techniques used could set a new benchmark in
Bendigo Mining NL is presently in the process of excavating a 4.3km
tunnel under the urban area aimed at reaching new ore bodies located
beneath the city.
The techniques being used by Goldfields Revegetation
20ha site surrounding the portal to the tunnel could well set a
new benchmark for the restoration of Victoria's Box-Ironbark forests.
The pioneering measures developed by the nursery give the program a leading
A primary aim of the revegetation program is to retain the diversity
of plants and animals, which existed prior to mining and that exists
in nearby undisturbed areas of Box-Ironbark forest.
To maintain the genetic
resources of the existing vegetation nursery staff collect seeds from
the trees and shrubs on-site.
The first step in the rehabilitation
process was therefore to collect seed from the site and stockpile
the existing leaf matter. This material has been used to conserve
the biomass and to attract insects, frogs, lizards
and small mammals back to the rehabilitated site.
and rocks were tagged prior to the connnencement of site works,
and were replaced to provide vital habitat needed to attract native
Tree removal was kept to a minimum, with scattered stands of mature
and shrubs being retained for habitat and to aid the revegetation
The Box-Ironbark forest at the site was
weed infested and in poor condition, a result of disturbance
from mining operations and poor rehabilitation
techniques at the turn of the century. One of the
challenges therefore was to successfully revegetate the site
while trying to eliminate the weed problem.
The areas with weeds were
cordoned off and the soil from these sites removed. The soil from
the remaining areas was then stockpiled for restoration.
soil, the need for weed control was reduced, thus increasing
opportunities for native grasses and other species. It must
be notedhowever that total weed eradicationis not possible
as species such as Shell
Grass (Briza maxima) are found throughout the Box-Ironbark
`Innovative germination techniques have produced
Innovative germination techniques have produced outstanding revegetation
Flora and fauna studies conducted prior to exploration approval
identified more than seventy indigenous plant species. The nursery
staff's vast knowledge
of the regional flora
and their years of experience developing innovative germination techniques
for these species have resulted in outstanding revegetation
results thus far.
first 18 months more than 50 species have germinated on the site.
Over 5000 tube stock have now been planted on the earthen
bund, constructed as a sound reduction wall around the mining site,
which has been undertaken.
Monitoring progress at the site is an important
component of the rehabilitation process.
A rare species identified at the site and now being grown by the nursery
ready for reintroduction is the Slender Sun Orchid (Thelymitrapauciflora).
As many orchids and other species have a symbiotic relationship with
fungi, their fruiting bodies were also collected from the site. The
spores of the fungi have been returned to the top soil to assist
plants such as
the Slender Sun Orchid to successfully re-establish.
Bendigo Mining was recently judged the winner of the
Rural Pride - Keep Australia Beautiful Competition in the Commercial/Industrial
The Award was presented for Outstanding Concern and
Action Towards Preserving the Environment. Mr Buerger, then Managing
Director of Bendigo Mining, on accepting the Award paid special tribute
Goldfields Revegetation for its work in managing
site rehabilitation. He said, "the commitment to the management
and rehabilitation of the site has meant that production objectives
be met whilst maintaining high environmental standards. The nursery has
the remarkable ability to involve mine operators increasing their environmental
The revegetation efforts being refined by Goldfields
Revegetation at the Bendigo Mining site not only point towards a
ecosystem on the 20 hectare site, but also provide a model for the
revegetation of disturbed areas that can be used by other miners,
landcare groups and individuals throughout the region.
`A model for the revegetation of disturbed
areas in the region.'
The nursery has successfully propagated the Native Cherry (Exocarpus cupressiformis).
This breakthrough means that the Native Cherry can now be included
in rehabilitation works and adds to the significant advancements
in plant propagation associated with the mining industry such as
Smoke treatment has facilitated
the propagation and reintroduction of species such as the Common
Fringe Myrtle (Calytrix tetragona), a native of the Box-Ironbark
forests once difficult
Such advances in the knowledge of plant propagation, seed biology
and revegetation are extremely valuable to the mining industry. The
ability to successfully rehabilitate large areas of land disturbed
by mining operations is vital for an industry whose performance is
judged by the wider community on its environmental record.
the benefits of Goldfield Revegetation's work with mining companies is
certainly not limited to the mining industry. Natural resource managers,
foresters, farmers, gardeners and the wider community all benefit
to conservation and sustainable development.