Bio·R‘s current major project is reconstructing woodland habitat on Frahns Farm, a 550-hectare property near Monarto. This project will provide much needed habitat for declining woodland birds.
To do this cost effectively, we have enclosed over 160 ha of the farm with a kangaroo-proof fence, removing grazing pressure on planted seedlings and direct-seeded grasses, as well as remnant native vegetation.
In recent years, tens-of-thousands of native tubestock have been planted involving hundreds of species, while 15 hectares of mixed native grasses have been direct seeded. Seedlings and native grass areas are watered multiple times over their first summer when required, to ensure the best survivorship of our native plantings.
We have hosted annual community planting festivals at this site since 2016, with several hundred people attending most years. People from all walks of life get their hands dirty, come with their families, connect with community and to nature and, above all, they enjoy themselves while delivering environmental outcomes.
Another key feature of this restoration site is the network of wildlife and plant research projects that we have established, which help us to better understand the needs of wildlife and their responses to habitat reconstruction.
Bio·R regularly bands birds on the property, documents the use of the property by birds, annually surveys small mammals and reptiles, monitors plant survivorship and kangaroo grazing impacts and has improved existing habitats by installing over 200 nest boxes, which are regularly maintained and monitored. Many of these scientific research activities are run in conjunction with volunteers or schools.
The outcomes of this research ensures that our habitat reconstruction techniques are continually improved to better support wildlife.
While the plantings at Frahns Farm are still young, Bio·R‘s impact is already noticeable: in some years, up to 90% of planted tubestock have survived, nest boxes are being used for roosting and breeding by some of the Mount Lofty region’s declining woodland bird and mammal species, and the community loves to visit the site on our volunteer days and planting festivals.
Often it is the lack of viable seed that limits the amount of seedlings that can be grown for our projects. While the Bio·R Nursery aims to increase the diversity of our tubestock species, we still need a large amount of native seeds for the direct seeding component of our habitat reconstruction, which can be very expensive to source in the volumes required for our large-scale works.
Seeding Natives Incorporated is helping Bio·R establish an irrigated “seed orchard” at Frahns Farm, Monarto. The seed orchard will contain 30,000 seedlings, which will be planted and maintained to provide an ample source of seeds that can be harvested year after year.
With this reliable seed orchard, Bio·R will be well-equipped to ramp-up the scale and diversity of our planting efforts at Frahns Farm, Monarto. Any native seed surplus to our needs will be made available for other habitat reconstruction projects in the region.
Year established: 2015
Land area: 550 hectares
Area revegetated so far: 75 hectares
Major aims: Reconstruct habitat for declining woodland birds, establish research and monitoring projects to improve habitat reconstruction outcomes and create an accessible site for community and volunteer opportunities near Adelaide.
Key threatened species using sanctuary: Southern Whiteface, Brown Treecreeper, Restless Flycatcher, Western Pygmy Possum
Donors and volunteers are crucial to support our annual planting festivals at Frahns Farm. If you are interested in helping, please consider making a regular donation to support our work and volunteering at our planting festivals (either subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media).
We’ll keep you updated about local volunteer opportunities, Bio·R news and more.