Big Scrub remnants & nature reserves
The Big Scrub was began being cleared by European settlers from the 1840s. The area was cleared for its valuable cabinet timber species, in particular red cedar, and to ultimately open up the land for agriculture and development.
The Big Scrub originally covered approximately 75,000 hectares extending from Lismore, east to the edge of the coastal plain inland from Ballina and from Meerschaum Vale in the south to the Nightcap, Goonengerry and Byron Bay in the north, including the villages of Alstonville, Clunes and Bangalow. Now only small scattered remnants of rainforest remain, most of these remnants are less than five hectares in area and cover less than 700 hectares in total.
The mosaic of remnants stretch across the Alstonville-Dunoon plateau and are important stepping stones for birds and bats which seasonally migrate between the forests of the coast to the south, and the Nightcap and Border Ranges. The remnants are important genetic pools for seed dispersal between rainforests in north-eastern New South Wales. The remnants have been and will continue to be used as very significant research sites, particularly for researching the effects of human land use and forest fragmentation on rainforest ecology, a topic of national and international concern. The remnants demonstrate the range of lowland rainforest alliances of the volcano.
The main Big Scrub remnants today include Uralba Nature Reserve, Andrew Johnston Big Scrub, Victoria Park, Davis Scrub, Hayters Hill, Boatharbour, Minyon Falls Nature Reserve, Big Scrub Flora Reserve and Wilson Nature Reserve.
Uralba Nature Reserve covers an area of approximately 155 hectares on the Blackall Range near Alstonville (Geo Co-ords -28.89375 153.46281). Uralba Nature Reserve was declared a protected area in 1976.
Booyong Recreation Reserve covers an area of 16 hectares, 12 of which comprises alluvial rainforest containing 120 species of native trees and shrubs, 22 wet forest birds (of which thirteen are rainforest dependent), one rainforest dependent reptile and eight plant species nationally listed as rare, vulnerable or endangered. Booyong Recreational Reserve contains a major flying fox camp and the largest ball nut (FLOYDIA PRAEALTA) seen in New South Wales. It is located 2.5km south-west of Nashua (Geo Co-ords -28.7433 153.4484).
Andrew Johnston Big Scrub covers an area of 21 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1975. The Andrew Johnston Big Scrub remnant is located near Beacom Road off Eureka Road in Eureka (Geo Co-ords -28.69834 153.42299).
Victoria Park covers an area of 17 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1975. The Victoria Park remnant is located on Victoria Park Road off Dalwood Road in Alstonville (Geo Co-ords -28.90445 153.411).
Davis Scrub covers an area of 13 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1980. The Davis Scrub remnant is located 10 kms south-east of Lismore.
Hayters Hill covers an area of 8 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1989. The Hayters Hill remnant is located on Bangalow Road between Bangalow and Byron Bay (Geo Co-ords -28.67278 153.5851).
Boatharbour covers an area of 24 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1987. The Boatharbour Nature Reserve is located on Bangalow Road 7 kms north east of Lismore (Geo Co-ords -28.78135 153.32979).
Minyon Falls Nature Reserve covers an area of 112 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1979. The Minyon Falls Nature Reserve is located on Minyon Falls Road, 20 kms west of Byron Bay (Geo Co-ords -28.6128 153.3902).
Big Scrub Flora Reserve covers an area of 196 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1976. The Big Scrub Flora Reserve is located on Gibbergunyah Range Road near Rocky Creek Dam. (Geo co-ords -28.63334 153.31667).
Wilson Nature Reserve covers an area of 28 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1993. The Wilson Nature Reserve is located on City View Drive off Wyrallah Road in Lismore (Geo Co-ords -28.83334 153.28693).