Joint media release: Giving invasive blue gum seedlings the boot from KI

10 July 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon. David Spiers MP, SA Minister for Environment and Water


Native plant regeneration on Kangaroo Island will get a boost following the 2019/20 bushfires with team of volunteers joining the fight to uproot invasive Tasmanian Blue Gum seedlings or ‘wildlings’.

Many wildlings have been popping up amongst Kangaroo Island’s charred native vegetation that abuts commercial Tasmanian Blue Gum plantations, the majority of which were burnt out during the 2019-2020 Kangaroo Island bushfires.

Around 40 volunteers will be travelling to Kangaroo Island during July, led by the Nature Conservation Society of SA, Trees For Life and the Kangaroo Island Conservation Landholders Association.

The blue gum control projects will involve a number of volunteer groups and contractors over the next 12 months. These are some of the many programs on Kangaroo Island that have been supported by the Australian Government’s $200 million Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and
their Habitat.

Minister for Environment Sussan Ley said the volunteers will join locals to eradicate wildlings from as much natural habitat as possible.

“Tasmanian Blue Gums are fast growing eucalypts that, if left unchecked, could completely change the structure of the habitats, making the area unsuitable for a range of native plants and animals including several threatened species,” Minister Ley said.

“The Federal Government is pleased to support these important projects and we’re grateful to have volunteers and locals who are passionate about protecting our natural environment working with us on this issue.” 

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said an App developed by the South Australian Government will also be used by the volunteer groups to help coordinate and capture their control efforts. 

“While the appearance of green shoots may seem like a great regeneration story, it’s not so great when the plants are not native to the area,” Minister Speirs said. 

“The Tasmanian Blue Gum seedlings have emerged after the 2019-20 bushfires and without intervention could threaten native vegetation and fauna species. At least 3,500 ha is  likely to be significantly impacted if these wildlings are not removed.

“To have the local community working alongside the government to help get the blue gums under control is a great outcome and I look forward to seeing the results.” 

The Department for Environment and Water, Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, Department of Primary Industries and Regions, a number of NGOs and Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber, who own the majority of the Blue Gum plantations, are working in partnership to tackle the issue.

Anyone on Kangaroo Island interested in participating in the control efforts can register their interest with the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board by emailing ki.landscapeboard@sa.gov.au