NATURAL VALUES AND CONTEXT
Stony Farm Reserve is a modest 22.26 hectares of forested land on the slopes of North Sister in north-east Tasmania, about seven kilometres north of St Marys.
The North East Tasmania Land Trust (NETLT) has entered into a partnership with the TLC to undertake ongoing monitoring and management of the reserve. A conservation covenant under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 is registered over the whole of the reserve, and Stony Farm is surrounded on three sides by private reserves, forming a larger protected area with even greater conservation impact.
The steep and rugged terrain of Stoney Farm Reserve provides potential habitat eight species that which are listed as either Endangered or Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999, six of which are listed as endangered or vulnerable under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.
Five eucalypt species are present, including mature and healthy Tasmanian bluegum (Eucalyptus globulus) which is listed as a threatened vegetation community in Tasmania. Other eucalypt species include brown-top stringybark (E. obliqua), black peppermint (E. amygdalina), Brooker’s gum (E. brookeriana) and white gum (E. viminalis). The understorey is diverse with a surprising representation of moisture tolerant species such as lemon bottlebrush (Callistemon pallidus) and trailing Goodenia (Goodenia lanata) occurring on the upper slope indicating good ground water. In places the understory is luxuriant with a wide range of common Tasmanian wet forest species while in other areas common dry eucalypt forest species occur, this complexity provides for the wide range of plants and animals found on the property. Shrubs, sedges and herbs are also scattered throughout.
Mature blue gums with tree hollows provide nesting and feeding habitat for the endangered swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) on its migratory path, and numerous trees host hollows large enough for masked owls (Tyto novaehollandiae), with suitable hunting grounds in the surrounding landscape.
The reserve is habitat for threatened fauna species including the vulnerable spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) and the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii). Stony Farm Reserve is important as it protects a vulnerable, threatened vegetation community, provides excellent potential nesting and breeding habitat for the endangered swift parrot on its migration path, and is highly likely to offer habitat for the rare and endemic giant velvet worm (Tasmanipatus barretti).
MANAGING STONY FARM RESERVE
The NETLT is a community of dynamic and passionate people who give their time and expertise to managing the Stony Farm Reserve for its natural values. In addition to undertaking critical weed management, the NETLT conduct ecological monitoring with the information gathered employed by the TLC’s conservation science team to inform management plans for the land.
THE STONY FARM STORY
Below is an excerpt of the story of Stony Farm and how it came to be a TLC reserve in partnership with the North East Tasmanian Land Trust. The full account can be read on at the NETLT website.
On January 7, 2013 the Schier family of Falmouth made a generous offer of land known as Stony Farm to the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the North East Tasmania Land Trust. This block was originally granted in 1872 to John Frederick Lohrey one of four brothers who had arrived on the East Coast of Tasmania from Hamburg, Germany in 1855. Unlike his brothers Phillip, William and Henry, John chose not to clear and farm this land and it remained in the John Lohrey family for three generations until purchased by Gilbert Schier in 1974.
Gilbert’s wife Jean is descended from John Lohrey and, following her death, her children David, Val, John, Murray and Robert Schier decided to conserve the forest on it and protect the land for future generations by bequeathing the block to the land trusts of TLC and NETLT.
‘Both my mother and father would be really pleased that this land will now be conserved,’ said Val Schier. ‘Dad always respected and looked after the bush and my mother was a bit of an activist when it came to protecting the natural environment.’
’It’s satisfying to us that our distant cousins Andrew and Robin Lohrey, descendants of Henry Lohrey, are active members of the NETLT and have assisted my brother David in the legal practicalities of gifting the land.’
The TLC holds the title of the Schier reserve while the yearly and local management duties such as weed control and rates will be the responsibility of the NETLT. In 2013 TLC CEO Jane Hutchinson, with Chair of the NETLT, Andrew Lohrey, accepted the land gift on behalf of the organisations. Jane thanked the Schier family for their generosity in freely giving this land and congratulated them on their commitment to preserve the natural values of forests in the North East. Jane said she hoped this generous gift by the Schier family would stand as a beacon to other North-east land owners to follow.