Tasmania may still be closed to much of the world but when its borders reopen, there will be an unusual sight to greet visitors.

Key points:

  • Hundreds of native trees have been planted in the shape of a heart to promote tourism and regenerative work
  • The love-heart forest highlights the importance of the natural environment and how communities can get involved
  • Projects like this one aim to create a habitat for animals, a wind break on farm land, and jobs for locals

On a small beef farm in the north-west community of Table Cape, hundreds of native trees have been planted in the shape of a love heart.

It doesn’t look like much from the ground, but this “love-heart forest” is likely to capture the attention of tourists before they touch down at the nearby airport at Wynyard.

“When you’re flying over the cape, you expect beautiful views, but you don’t expect a great big love heart,” says Cyndia Hilliger, who runs The Waterfront Wynyard Accommodation.

“It’s just a little extra something that’s a bit unexpected and I love that about tourism.

“It’s those opportunities to surprise and delight people in ways that they don’t expect.”

While the love heart may be “Instagrammable”, tourism is far from the only reason it was planted. 

Love your land 

A man and a woman stand on a grassy hill with a shovel with saplings in the distance.

Tom Adlide and Sarah Smith from New Gen Environmental Services say restorative work benefits local economies.(ABC Rural: Lachlan Bennett)

Hundreds of volunteers planted the love heart back in August as part of a project developed by carbon-offset social enterprise Fifteen Trees, Landcare Tasmania and restoration business New Gen Environmental Services.

New Gen’s Tom Adlide said the revegetation effort highlighted the importance of the natural environment in the region and how communities could be involved in these sorts of projects.

Landcare Tasmania project officer Jakob Sprickerhof said the project would serve an important environmental function given its proximity to the Table Cape Conservation Area and Wynyard reserves.

“Hopefully it will connect Table Cape with the reserves we have in Wynyard so birds and bandicoots and small animals that move through here will find spots where they can live,” he said.

“When we were planting, a wedge-tailed eagle was actually hunting there. It was quite spectacular to see.”

Production and protection

An aerial view of a lush green, coastal farm in Table Cape with hundreds of young trees planted in the shape of a love heart.

The forest is Instagrammable, but tourism is just one the reasons it was planted.(ABC Northern Tasmania: Craig Heerey)

The love heart is just one of thousands of Landcare projects scattered across Australia, many of which are located on working farms or private land.

Mr Sprickerhof said a lot of the projects improved biodiversity while simultaneously providing a “production benefit” for farmers.

“We put in shelter belts or wind breaks on farmland, but we select native species and that creates habitat for animals and birds,” he said.

Jakob Sprickerhof from Landcare Tasmania stands on the farm with a shovel and tree guard.

Jakob Sprickerhof from Landcare Tasmania hopes the forest will provide refuge for birds and animals.(ABC Rural: Lachlan Bennett)

Mr Adlide said regenerative projects could also create jobs in regional communities, from weed management to fencing.

“It needs to be recognised that there is that type of employment for the community and that creates stronger communities, more jobs really,” he said.

Ms Hilliger said Tasmania’s tourism industry had a strong history of capitalising on opportunities across different sectors.

“This is a great example of how something as functional as replanting trees could also be a tourism asset,” she said.

Tourism operator Cyndia Hilliger stands on a boardwalk overlooking the harbour and marina.

Tourism operator Cyndia Hilliger says there’s lots of potential for sectors to work together on projects.(ABC Rural: Lachlan Bennett)

“It’s a nice way of leveraging off the natural assets we have here in the North West Coast and it’s a way of exploring it in new and novel formats.

“That’s what the tourism industry needs and I’m seeing a lot of that post-COVID. We’ve all been forced to really think about what we do and how we do it and look for opportunities to partner up with different businesses.”

Why a ‘love-heart forest’ was planted on this farm
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