Two projects are currently underway to restore 16 ha of the endangered Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath community. The original heathland and heathy woodland vegetation will be restored through progressive removal of encroaching species and the reinstatement of the original fire regime. These remnants are home to numerous threatened flora and fauna, including two endangered plants known only from the Byron Bay Clay Heathland.
Monitoring and historical aerial photo analysis show the Byron Bay Clay Heathland is being rapidly displaced by encroaching fernland and forest – having lost almost 70% of its extent since the 1960’s. Reduced fire frequency allows taller species to colonise heathland and progressively develop a dense mesic canopy that shades out the original heathland. If no actions are undertaken encroachment and mesic shift will continue, which is likely to result in the localised extinction of the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath and the endemic and endangered Diuris byronensis and Allocasuarina defungens.
NPWS commenced restoration of 11ha of the heathland in Arakwal National Park in 2013. An planned burn was conducted in May 2015, with planning and approvals completed for additional burns in the near future. Following on from two successful planned burns in 2008/9, Byron Shire Council commenced further restoration works in 2014 with the support of the NSW Government Environmental Trust, and have approvals for planned burns over additional sites this year.
For more information on the NPWS project see this video… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfqDK1BdjME