Protecting the endangered Giant Gippsland Earthworm

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Photo credit: Sir David Attenborough via Dr Beverley Van Praagh /
20 April 2023
Protecting the endangered Giant Gippsland Earthworm

At Smartgroup, we’re proud to support climate action through our Carbon Offset Program. One of our main partners in this important work is Greenfleet Australia – a leading not-for-profit organisation working tirelessly on offsetting carbon through native reforestation. 

One of Greenfleet’s reforestation projects that we’re thrilled to have been able to support is their work at Corymbia Farm in West Gippsland, Victoria (situated on Boon Wurrung Country). 

Looking out for an incredibly rare species

In 2018, Greenfleet planted more than 26,000 trees and shrubs at Corymbia Farm. During a pre-planting survey at the site, Greenfleet found evidence of the Giant Gippsland Earthworm. That left Greenfleet with a clear path forward: conduct reforestation with special mind toward protecting these fascinating creatures. 

Found nowhere else in the world, these earthworms usually grow to at least a metre in length, can live for many years, and are a protected species at both a state and federal level. 

Gippsland’s large amount of rainfall helps create the very wet soil that makes a perfect habitat for them as they gurgle along beneath the surface. That’s right – if you’re lucky enough to visit the area, there’s a good chance you’ll hear the distinctive sound of the earthworms as they move through their tunnels in the soil. 

However, due to previous land clearing, the land has become susceptible to landslides, which impact the worms’ natural environment and can threaten their numbers. The ecosystem restoration work that Greenfleet is delivering will help secure the soil and protect these unique creatures. 

A little light shone by Sir David Attenborough 

The Giant Gippsland Earthworm was perhaps made most famous by broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David Attenborough. He visited West Gippsland in 2005 for his documentary Life in the Undergrowth. He spent two days investigating and filming, and referred to them as the “rarest and most extraordinary of all earthworms”. 

You can check out a quick clip from the documentary here 

Even with just a brief feature, Sir David Attenborough was able to bring important attention to the Gippsland Earthworm – and how special the region that makes their home is. 

Greenfleet makes a lasting impact in Gippsland 

Greenfleet Corymbia Farm.jpg

After expert consultation, Greenfleet put specific types of trees in different parts of the property. Certain tree species were planted to keep the moisture level consistent wherever the earthworms were present. And where they needed to protect against landslides, they planted eucalypts. But because eucalypts can dry out the soil, these were planted at places on the property away from the earthworms. 

Mission accomplished for Greenfleet – the forest they’ve created will be legally protected for 100 years. And the project has helped protect the habitat of an incredible creature, one that they’re hoping will thrive well into the future. 

Supporting important environmental work with our Carbon Offset Program  

Greenfleet’s rewarding work at Corymbia Farm is just one of many projects that Smartgroup has been proud to support. 

It was in 2008 that we launched our Carbon Offset Program by partnering with Greenfleet. And it’s with massive thanks to our leasing customers, who have supported the program with regular donations over the past 13 years. 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia. We pay our respect to them, and to Elders past, present and future. 

Photo credit: Sir David Attenborough via Dr Beverley Van Praagh /

Want to learn more about our Carbon Offset Program?