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Aleppo pine tree management

New native habitat to replace pine trees

A decision has been made by Marion Council to remove the Aleppo pine trees around the Lower Field River.

The removal, around Cormorant Drive Reserve at Hallett Cove, will occur in stages over six years and will be accompanied by a comprehensive revegetation plan.

The decision was made at the Council meeting on 27 October 2020.

Why are the Aleppo pine trees being removed?

The 34 Aleppo pines at the Lower Field River are a non-native tree. While they provide some food and shelter for a variety of birdlife, they are preventing local native plants from regenerating. They are also excluding many other native birds and other fauna from the area.

Given the sensitive and complex nature of the site, Council engaged experts to provide a comprehensive assessment and plan. For example, a report by an arborist concluded that many of the pine trees have poorly formed and defective branch joins, many of the trees are in decline and there is a history of branch failure.

The weight of expert opinion is against the retention of those trees. An independent review of that advice was also sought from respected biologist Professor Chris Daniels from the University of South Australia.

What does the revegetation plan entail?

The trees will be sensitively removed in stages with those in poorest health to be removed first. A revegetation plan will work in conjunction with the removal and is designed to create three habitats:

  • A creek line habitat dominated by Common Reed and Narrow-leaf Bulrush, with a shrub layer that will attract birds such as the Little Grass Bird and the Australian Reed Warbler.
  • An edge of river riparian zone of Red Gum over shrubs along with a stand of Swamp Paperbark, which would be suitable for the Nankeen Night Heron in the future.
  • A woodland habitat on the uphill slope from the river composed of about 30 per cent Eucalyptus trees over shrubs.

The revegetation will provide habitat for native birds and other fauna, and will also provide food sources to replace what is being removed.

Why is Council pruning the pine trees?

The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) has inspected the Aleppo pines, and while they are not a fire risk, they have recommended the bottom 3m of branches be removed as a precaution. This work will occur before the fire season starts.

How can I obtain more information?

You can read the advice from experts that was presented to Council on this page along with the Council report.

Council’s Biodiversity Coordinator Jock Conlon can be contacted on 8375 6600 or emailed at