Tasmania may still be closed to large parts of the world, but when its borders reopen, there will be an unusual sight to greet visitors.
- Hundreds of native trees have been planted in the shape of a heart to promote tourism and regenerative work
- The love-heart forest emphasizes the importance of the natural environment and how society can be involved
- Projects like this aim to create a habitat for animals, a wind break on farmland and jobs for locals
On a small beef farm in the northwestern community of Table Cape, hundreds of native trees have been planted in the shape of a love heart.
It does not look like much from the ground up, but this “love heart forest” is likely to catch the attention of tourists before landing at the nearby airport at Wynyard.
“When you fly over the mantle, you expect a beautiful view, but you do not expect a big love heart,” says Cyndia Hilliger, who runs The Waterfront Wynyard Accommodation.
“It’s just a little extra something that’s a little unexpected, and I love it about tourism.
“It’s these opportunities to surprise and delight people in ways they do not expect.”
While the heart of love may be “Instagrammable”, tourism is far from the only reason it was planted.
Love your country
Hundreds of volunteers planted the love heart back in August as part of a project developed by CO2-compensating social enterprise Fifteen Trees, Landcare Tasmania and restoration company New Gen Environmental Services.
New Gens Tom Stamp said the reconstruction effort highlighted the importance of the natural environment of the region and how communities could be involved in such projects.
Landcare Tasmania project manager Jakob Sprickerhof said the project would serve an important environmental function given its proximity to the Table Cape Conservation Area and the Wynyard reserves.
“Hopefully it will connect Table Cape with the reserves we have in Wynyard, so birds and bandicoots and small animals moving through here will find places where they can live,” he said.
“When we planted, there was actually a wedge-tailed eagle hunting there. It was pretty spectacular to see.”
Production and protection
The Heart of Love is just one of thousands of Landcare projects spread across Australia, many of which are located on working farms or private land.
Sir. Sprickerhof said many of the projects improved biodiversity while providing a “production advantage” for farmers.
“We put light belts or windbreaks on farmland, but we choose native species, and that creates habitats for animals and birds,” he said.
Sir. Adlide said regenerative projects could also create jobs in regional communities, from weed management to fencing.
“It needs to be recognized that there is that type of employment for society and it creates stronger communities, more jobs in reality,” he said.
Ms Hilliger said Tasmania’s tourism industry had a strong history of exploiting opportunities across different sectors.
“This is a great example of how something as functional as replanting trees could also be a tourist asset,” she said.
“It’s a great way to take advantage of the natural assets we have here on the northwest coast, and it’s a way to explore it in new and new formats.
“That’s what the tourism industry needs, and I see a lot of it post-COVID. We’ve all been forced to really think about what we do and how we do it and look for opportunities to work with different companies. . “