BY ADRIAN MILLER
MORE than 100 volunteers picked up their spades and shovels and got their hands dirty on Susan Island over the weekend in an effort to help restore native vegetation on the island.
Sponsored by Boral Timber, and in conjunction with Landcare, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Susan and Elizabeth Island Trust, the volunteers planted more than 600 trees and 1000 creek lilies in an effort to help the island's habitat regrow.
Susan and Elizabeth Island Trust deputy chairman, Dan Fahey, said the planting would help native bird species by providing them more habitats.
"Since the cattle stopped grazing we've had a significant number and diversity of bird species reappear," he said.
"Habitats are starting to come back and we are trying to make that happen a little more quickly than it would occur naturally."
Mr Fahey said the planting was about keeping the aesthetics of the island intact, while allowing people to enjoy the island.
"We're still trying to keep it a pleasant place for people to picnic in tandem with the environmental side of things, the two go hand-inhand," he said.
Mr Fahey said the planting aimed to help swing the pendulum back in favour of native species on the island.
"(We planted) bottlebrushes for the honeyeaters and lorikeets and once we got away from the river, casuarinas for the doves, finches, quails and parrots," he said.
"After that we got into the rainforest and targeted mostly fruiting varieties as part of our camphor laurel replacement strategy."
Mr Fahey said with the remov- al of camphor laurels on the island, birds were losing out on a useful source of food.
"If you get rid of the camphor in one foul swoop, the bird population has nothing to fall back on," he said.
"So we've put in a lot of things, such as fruits for the rainforest birds, with the view that if the camphor laurels start to wane, there'll be something there for them."