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Emirates starts Major Habitat Regeneration at Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia

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A major habitat regeneration project has begun at Emirates’ first luxury Australian conservation resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. The first step in a long-term conservation programme commenced with the planting of over 1,000 indigenous trees. The reforestation project aims to regenerate ecologically sensitive areas within Emirates’ Wolgan Valley Reserve and is part of Emirates Hotels and Resorts’ carbon offsetting initiative and its commitment to the protection of biodiversity.

The first resort to be developed by Emirates Hotels & Resorts outside the United Arab Emirates, Wolgan Valley includes an extensive conservation programme which will reintroduce indigenous species to the 4,000 acre site.

International volunteers and local residents gathered last weekend to begin planting over 1,000 native trees indigenous to the area at a former cattle ranch, which will become the Wollemi Grove. The Wollemi Grove will feature one of the world’s rarest trees, the Wollemi Pine. Previously known only through fossil records, the Wollemi Pine was re-discovered in 1994, deep within the neighbouring Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The site of the re-discovered plantation remains a well protected secret, with only a handful of scientists and National Parks conservationists knowing the actual location.

Emirates’ conservation team has worked closely with Mr David Noble, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Officer, who discovered the Wollemi Pine, to create the Wollemi Grove. A range of other native species will be planted alongside the Wollemi Pine to ensure a new and stable habitat, which will attract and support a number of local wildlife species previously under pressure.

Commenting on the latest developments, Tony Williams, Senior Vice President of Emirates Hotels & Resorts said, “Having recently completed the first phase of our conservation programme, with the removal of invasive noxious plants, weeds and non-indigenous flora, we can now enter the positive phases of the programme with the planting over a thousand native trees. The Wolgan Valley is an important site; not only is it extraordinarily beautiful, but it is also environmentally important from a conservation point of view.”

“The Wolgan Valley’s position along the Great Australian Divide, at the heart of a World Heritage Area, has both historic and conservation significance for Australia. It also continues Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ philosophy of sustainable development and threatened species protection. This location and the resort  itself will provide future guests and visitors with an unparalleled experience of Australia’s wildlife, history and aboriginal heritage - all of which we have committed to preserve.

It is an exciting moment for everyone at Emirates who has been directly involved in the project. The establishment of the Wollemi Grove forms a central part of our conservation efforts. The Wollemi Pine, and other species planted, can live for well over five hundred years, and will provide a great legacy well beyond our lifetimes,.” Mr Williams added.

The next phase of the conservation programme will see efforts focussed on the removal of feral animals. The single greatest factor leading to the extinction of many unique Australian species has been predation by introduced non-native animals. This remains today the greatest threat to Australian wildlife, and their removal will ultimately lead to the creation of a wildlife corridor connecting three National Parks.

The Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is nestled deep in the heart of the Wolgan Valley beneath breathtaking sandstone escarpments, only two percent of the 4,000 acre site will be developed as part of the resort. The remainder is dedicated to conservation, and forms a wildlife reserve.

Due to open in late 2009, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will offer its guests a true wilderness experience, complimented by luxury accommodation and services, with 40 individual villas, each with its own pool, world-class spa facilities and the very best of locally sourced food and wines.

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