BALARDONG NOONGAR COUNTRY
- Region: Great Eastern, WA
- Planted: 2018, 2019
- Size: 25 hectares
- Seedlings Count: 37,500 (hand-planted)
- Partner: Sandalwood Solutions, FarmWoods
Before being cleared in the early 1900s, much of the Bencubbin site was covered with native sandalwood (Santalum spicatum). Without the protection of trees and shrubs, the site experienced significant wind and water erosion and proved difficult to farm. The site's acid yellow Wodjil soil has a higher water recharge rate compared to other soil types, exacerbating the rise of saline water tables and secondary salinity issues.
In July 2018, we began restoring the Bencubbin site with over 40 native species of trees and shrubs, including Acacia and Sandalwood. Our latest monitoring in 2019 showed a 98% survival rate! Once the plantings are sufficiently established, sheep grazing will be allowed in the area to control weeds and reduce fire hazard. The landowners will be allowed to collect fallen sandalwood nuts, and after 25 years will be allowed to harvest the sandalwood timber, which represents only a small portion of the total biomass of the plantings. This creates a mutually beneficial and sustainable model which we hope will encourage more landholders restore land in the future.