FBA check in on the OGRES at Mt Etna

Old Guys Restoring Ecosystems (OGREs) hard at work

Two years ago, we touched base with a bunch of Old Guys Restoring Ecosystems (OGREs) at one of central Queensland’s earliest conservation sites – Mt Etna. The OGREs have been integral to restoring and caring for the endangered Semi-evergreen vine thicket (SEVT) that grows at Mt Etna, and since the devastating fires in 2018 their work has been relentless and invaluable.

As after any fire, weeds are the first plants to emerge, outcompeting natives, so it is not surprising weeding has been the group’s main focus this past two years. But that’s not all they’ve done. Flagging surviving trees, hand chipping and spraying have resulted in a surprising recovery in quite a few areas with some trees flowering and setting seed in 2021. 

In the latter half of 2021, the OGREs initiated a new round of planting which saw more than 650 trees in the ground with a continued focus on introducing local species with high diversity.  La Nina and the resultant above-average rainfall this past wet season has seen a great survival rate…. but as the OGREs say – this also means the weeds will continue to be their focus for a while at Etna.  

Many are keeping an eye on and learning from what the OGREs have achieved in this important space. Recently, a group of university students from CQUniversity visited the site as it presents an excellent example of on-ground restoration in action. 

This project is supported by Fitzroy Basin Association, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.