Restoring the Island's natural vegetation is a large scale, long-term activity. The result will provide further woodland habitats for key fauna species and relieve some of the pressure placed on the groundwater system.
The Rottnest Island Authority has been undertaking woodland restoration on Rottnest since 1963.
In earlier years, tree species not naturally occurring on Rottnest such as tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) and coastal moort (Eucalyptus utilis) were planted in large stands. Apart from these stands not being representative of the natural habitat, many of these non-native species are not suited to the Island’s harsh conditions. Species such as tuart have high water demands and as a result put additional pressures on Rottnest’s limited groundwater supply.
Since 1995, only the two tree species native to the Island, Rottnest Island Pine and Rottnest Island Tea Tree, have been planted. These plants are propagated at the Rottnest Island Nursery, which has capacity to deliver a staggering 40,000 seedlings for a variety of Island re-vegetation programs.
Woodland restoration on Rottnest to date has predominantly involved planting within fenced restoration areas in order to exclude quokkas from grazing on the seedlings. Other restoration activities include seed collection, propagation, planting and weed control.