Woodlands and Rainforest project

Restoration of Threatened Ecological Communities in the Illawarra

Woodlands and Rainforest project

Restoration of Threatened Ecological Communities in the Illawarra

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

Much of the Illawarra's natural vegetation has been cleared, with small pockets of significant plant communities scattered throughout the area. The vegetation that remains is largely classified as threatened and is under increasing pressure from development.

Biodiversity assessments have identified that most of the Threatened Ecological Communities in the area are on private land, often on relatively small mixed-use farms. We have property owners in these areas who have been long term members of Landcare Illawarra and others who are interested in learning how to control weeds and learn more about the environment.

We saw a need to support our members and create vegetation corridors to enhance and link these fragmented communities.

The solution

Our umbrella project, the Landcare Illawarra Woodlands and Rainforest Project, began in August 2009, when we received a NPWS Section 132c Scientific Licence for seed collections, nursery propagation and planting projects. Since then we have received grants from Local Land Services and the Environmental Trust.

We undertook this regional ecological restoration project with rural landholders from the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama local government areas, to revegetate their farms with Illawarra native trees and understorey species. Our aim was to rebuild Threatened Ecological Communities by using the species in them for windbreaks, ecoforestry, and wildlife corridors. They also serve as seed production areas for the conservation of individual species and their population’s genetic diversity.

The impact

To date we have partnered with around 150 landholders and collected locally provenanced seed, supported our members to propagate it and planted the resulting plants on private properties, public land and local schools.

We have strengthened Lowland Rainforest, Littoral Rainforest, Swamp Sclerophyll Forest, Illawarra SubTropical Rainforest, Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland and Melaleuca armillaris Tall Scrubland Threatened Ecological Communities.


We found that as more people found out about our project, the more people wanted to learn about the area. We now have a network of seed collection associates and have provided multi-purpose plantings on local properties

Key facts

  • 5000 trees planted over the last 3 years
  • 160 people involved in our seed collection and planting events
  • A local network of seed collectors and small nurseries

Project Partners