Rediscovering Wilderness: The Woolley’s False Antechinus and Carbon Neutral’s Mission

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About Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral runs large-scale reforestation projects and are actively working towards reducing carbon emissions, restoring landscapes, and preserving biodiversity. They have already planted over 30 million trees, making a significant contribution to mitigating the effects of deforestation and sequestering atmospheric carbon. Their efforts have been rewarded by receiving the prestigious Gold Standard certification, highlighting their commitment to sustainable environmental practices.

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By implementing the reforestation project and creating a 200 km green corridor spanning 10,000 km2, Carbon Neutral aims to reconnect and restore fragmented woodland and shrubland. This restoration not only helps combat salinity and water table problems but also provides crucial habitat, food sources, and protection for numerous threatened species. The project’s focus on improving local biodiversity contributes to the long-term sustainability of the world.

The project also actively sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide, helping to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations. Reforestation efforts are crucial for capturing carbon dioxide and combating climate change, as trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store it in their biomass. Furthermore, Carbon Neutral’s expertise and innovative approaches in the Carbon industry make them valuable contributors to global efforts in promoting sustainable practices and environmental conservation. 

The Woolley’s False Antechinus

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The Woolley’s False Antechinus is a small, carnivorous marsupial; eating insects, scorpions, centipedes and small lizards. They are found in small, isolated populations in the arid zone of the Midwest in the rangelands at Jack Hills, Mt Jackson and Bungalbin Hill. They are thought to be a highly threatened species due to the destruction of its natural habitat from extensive iron ore mining in the region.

Since its discovery in 1988, the Woolley’s False Antechinus (scientific name Pseudantechinus woolleyae) has been rarely seen and has not yet received conservation status. It has only been sighted and identified in Karara National Park and Mungada Ridge. This exciting discovery is believed to mark the first time this marsupial has been spotted in the wheatbelt region.

Spotted!

Carbon Neutral has now spotted the Woolley’s False Antechinus on motion sensitive night cameras in the Biodiversity Corridor. Carbon Neutral then sent the footage to ecologists Dr Nic Dunlop and Alison Goundrey, who were able to identify it and announce the discovery. The ecologists are part of a volunteer team from the Carbon Neutral Citizen Science Program.

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About the Yarra Yarra

The Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor belongs to Carbon Neutral, one of Handprints largest impact partners. It was created by Denis Watson, the founder of Carbon Neutral, as a way to restore the land back to pre-european times. When European settlers first came to Australia 200 years ago, lots of land was cleared for successful farming. Over time, the land has degraded, due to the salinity and climate. Carbon Neutral now has stewardship responsibility to manage 1,000 ha of remnant vegetation on Hughes Block, adjoining parts of its extensive biodiverse carbon sink plantings in the north-eastern wheatbelt. 

Restoring a forest is complicated, because the land takes time to adapt and for species diversity and density to grow. For a forest to last a long time, there has to be a high level of biodiversity. They encourage this by planting many species of trees, adding biodiversity into a region that has been troubled for decades. Working with farms, they plant 67 species of plants and shrubs so the wildlife can regain its habitat. It has the added benefit of sucking carbon out of the air. 

They run the ‘plant a tree’ program in the forest for Handprint. Recently, the forest has become one of the 58 areas listed as a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) in Western Australia under the Biodiversity Conservation Act. 

Significance of the Discovery

Spotting the marsupial has solidified the goals and aspirations of Carbon Neutral. They hope to restore the region into a sanctuary for endangered animals such as this one. In the future, they hope to find more species and animals that were thought to be extinct or never seen. Carbon Neutral have also confirmed the presence of the threatened species, Mallee Fowl (scientific name Leipoa ocellata), in the Hughes Block area. This is a significant finding as it adds another layer of ecological importance to this region.

This discovery is proof that the world can recover when it is given the resources and time it needs. There are many more examples of this in the world, where Regeneration is possible. For example, the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant is now a safe haven for wildlife. 

If you would like to learn the story of Carbon Neutral and who runs it, read this Humans of Handprint article.