Blue Gum High Forest
From April to September 2007 funds collected from the Don’t Bag the Environment program were donated to the Blue Gum High Forest Group (BGHF Group). One of seven critically endangered ecological communities listed by the Australian Government, the Blue Gum High Forest only occurs in the northern suburbs of Sydney and it is an important part of the nation’s natural heritage.
Towering blue gums and blackbutts, 30 metres tall provide an open canopy. Below the trees a tangle of shrubs, ferns, vines, and grasses provide habitat for birds, bats, beetles, possums and even wallabies – right in the suburbs.
From the early days of Sydney town, timber was taken from the Blue Gum High Forest to construct bridges, wharves, and buildings. More was cleared for orchards than for houses and gardens. Today this once majestic forest is highly fragmented. About 1% remains in publicly owned reserves. In 2005 the most intact remnant was at St Ives with half a hectare under threat from development.
By the end of 2005 the BGHF Group raised $72,000 which impressed local councillors who agreed to apply for funds from the National Reserve System to secure the remnant. Finally, in 2007, beleaguered by threats from developers, the project received Commonwealth aid with $350,000 allocated to assist the council’s purchase of this last half hectare of Blue Gum High Forest.
Nancy Pallin commented that “Yet another exhausting battle to prevent the loss of a key piece of our natural heritage from being destroyed had been won. Community care for the Blue Gum High Forest continues with bush care groups working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Ku-ring-gai Council.”
Photo credit: Alec Smart (Neighbourhood Media)