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Ecological thinning trial in river red gum forests

To try and improve the declining health of river red gum forests, NSW National Parks is planning to trial ecological thinning in 400ha of Murray Valley National Park (NSW). This trial will gauge the effectiveness of ecological thinning as a way of promoting biodiversity in high stem density areas.

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Recent scientific studies have described a decline in the health of river red gum forests. Given ongoing river regulation and the likelihood of future droughts resulting from climate change, NSW National Parks has worked with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Science Division to compose an experimental design and monitoring plan that seeks to determine whether reducing tree density leads to improved health and biodiversity. 

Reduced density is likely to mean more access to water, more mature hollow bearing trees which provide habitat and other valuable resources, and more wood debris for native Australian animals and plants. It’s also expected to prevent further decline in the condition of the red gum canopy.

As the conservation program progresses, the river red gums will be closely monitored to determine how ecological thinning is affecting the forest and the availability of key habitat features in high stem density stands.

Parks related to this program

Riverbanks along the Murrumbidgee River, Yanga National Park. Photo: Gavin Hansford