Paddock trees are keystone structures providing a number of local and landscape ecological functions, including provision of habitat and connectivity for native species. Research has indicated that paddock trees are declining due to natural and accelerated mortality, and most will be lost in less than forty years resulting in an undesirable ecological regime shift. Research also suggests that doing nothing will result in the loss of paddock trees from our landscape, lead to substantial reductions in some Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC) and will negatively affect many native animal species.
To deal with this issue, MLi have been working on a project to plant and protect paddock trees across the Kyeamba and Tarcutta Valleys. The project developed four factsheets highlighting the importance of paddock trees to the landscape. Landholders were invited to participate in on-ground works activities that included the erection of fencing to protect existing paddock trees and the planting of locally endemic native seedlings. Remuneration was provided to landholders for fencing materials costs, and seedling purchases from the Riverina Highlands Landcare Nursery.
Several seed collection field days were also conducted across the life of the project to enhance landholder skills in native tree identification, seed collection and propagation.