Two women holding each other's arms in front of a large tree

The Australians who take care of our trees — and how you can too

On the stark tablelands in the Monaro region just east of the NSW Snowy Mountains, a group of dedicated volunteers is working hard to restore the ghostly landscape to its former glory.

The Upper Snowy Landcare Network is working with volunteers, landholders and researchers to get native trees back into the dieback-ravaged landscape. (Supplied: Upper Snowy Landcare Network)

The grassy plains were once dominated by towering ribbon gums (Eucalyptus viminalis), but in recent years, a mysterious dieback event has reduced nearly all the trees to brittle skeletons.

“It just left a huge scar on the landscape,” says Margaret Mackinnon, volunteer and chair of the Upper Snowy Landcare Network (USLN).

A group of large dead trees in a rocky landscape at sunset
A mysterious dieback event has killed off most of the eucalypts in the region.(Supplied: Upper Snowy Landcare Network)

The root cause of the dieback is still a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped Dr Mackinnon from pitching in to help reverse the devastation.

Since she joined the USLN in 2016, Dr Mackinnon has been working with landholders, community volunteers and researchers to get native trees back in the ground, including eucalypts, wattles and small shrubs.

“We can’t just leave it to business and landholders to spend the money on repairing the environment; we’ve got to get individuals involved and doing it in their own backyards,” she says.