This news release comes from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Image: NSW National Parks – Office of Environment & Heritage

Media release: 10 September 2012

Field staff have been converting pest trees into valuable mulch to improve native animal habitat and suppress invasive blackberry and briar weeds in parts of Kosciuszko National Park.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Senior Field Supervisor Danny Matthews said the mulched trees, mostly poplars, had been spreading at an alarming rate.

“Five field staff recently spent 26 days removing and chipping hundreds of trees over an area of six hectares at the Talbingo Landslip Quarry near Talbingo Dam wall,” Mr Matthews said.

“During the construction of the Snowy Scheme, and particularly between the 1950s and 1970s, exotic trees were planted for erosion control and this had unintended consequences for native ecosystems.”

Mr Matthews said European species including willow, broom and poplar were planted in parts of Kosciuszko National Park and in many cases they had spread and become weeds.

“Replacing exotic trees with native vegetation will not only protect soil stability, it will have broader environmental benefits.

“And chipping these trees has produced about 800 cubic metres of mulch, which we have spread to boost organic levels in the soil and help stop weed infestations in the undergrowth.”

This major woody weed eradication program in Kosciuszko National Park is tackling exotic trees on Guthega Road, reducing Scotch Broom in the Snowy River, and removing kilometres of willows in the Tumut River.

More work is planned this year, including the removal of thousands of willow stems in the Eucumbene River and helicopter-based work in the upper reaches of the Tumut River between the T2 power station and the Elliott Way.

Weed eradication programs like the one underway in Kosciuszko are one way the Office of Environment and Heritage enhances the care and management of National Parks for a healthy environment.