More than 300,000 trees have been planted across Whitehaven’s Maules Creek biodiversity offset properties to protect and enhance biodiversity values, including threatened ecological communities and threatened species.
Biodiversity offset areas compensate for biodiversity impacts that cannot be avoided or mitigated in operations, also known as residual impacts. Offsets ensure that like-for-like or better biodiversity values are maintained and conserved into the future.
This differs from rehabilitation areas, which can be returned to a variety of different land uses once mining is complete, such as for pasture, forestry or farming.
Tree planting revegetation of Maules Creek biodiversity offset areas is well advanced with more than 320,000 trees planted over 2,700 hectares, contributing to a total of more than 450,000 trees planted across all of Whitehaven’s biodiversity managed areas since 2017.
“Since 2013 we’ve secured nearly 20,800 hectares in perpetuity via Conservation Agreements for the biodiversity offset areas related to our Maules Creek, Narrabri, Tarrawonga, Rocglen, Canyon and Werris Creek mines – and overall we manage more than 27,000 hectares of land for biodiversity purposes,” said Sarah Withell, Whitehaven Coal Executive General Manager – Health, Safety & Environment.
“To date the team has successfully restored multiple threatened ecological communities and transplanted the threatened flora species Pomaderris queenslandica back into the Maules Creek biodiversity offset area.”
Whitehaven’s adaptive management approach involves implementing strict feral animal management, fire management, weed management and flora and fauna monitoring programs that ensure survival rates from tree planting activities are as high as possible.
“We closely track our progress and initial surveys at the Maules Creek areas have confirmed a high survival rate of over 70%, which will ensure the long-term biodiversity benefits of this planting program are delivered for the regional landscape and corridors,” Sarah added.
“The tree planting program is just one part of an extensive program of work being undertaken across our assets. Revegetation, seed collection, threatened species management and habitat augmentation are among a range of other initiatives that will deliver significant biodiversity benefits for years to come.”