Composite Mats for Biodiversity

Composite Mats for Biodiversity
Composite Mats for Biodiversity
22 MAY 2024

Over the past two decades, Dura-Base mats have made some impactful contributions to biodiversity preservation in various Australian projects.

What Does Composite Matting Have to Do with Biodiversity?

(Read the original article on our Linkedin page)

At first glance, the connection between composite mats and biodiversity may not be immediately apparent. While mats won't directly restore endangered species or create ideal ecosystems, they can play a crucial role in minimising ecological footprints and protecting sensitive habitats.

Australia is experiencing a surge in construction and infrastructure projects, with over $92 billion allocated for major projects in the next five years. These projects often span vast areas, and despite thorough environmental impact assessments, may inadvertently affect fragile ecosystems and sensitive soils and habitats.

Over the past two decades, Dura-Base mats have made some impactful contributions to biodiversity preservation in various Australian projects.


Renewables & Endangered Species

The wind farm precinct in Victoria's South-West region is not only a hub for renewable energy but also the habitat for numerous endangered species of flora and fauna.

The construction of the Dundonnell Wind Farm posed significant challenges, including preserving the habitat of the endangered Indigenous Crane - Victorian Brolga. This species requires specific breeding conditions, including vegetated wetlands with aquatic cover, particular water depths, and certain grasses for feeding and hiding.

Temporary-Roadway Mats Protecting Agricultural Biodiversity


Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, located nearby, faced similar concerns as the project site was home to three nationally vulnerable species: the Striped Legless Lizard, the Spiny Rice-flower, and the White Sunray. The main threats to these species include habitat destruction, degradation, and weed invasion, as well as soil erosion in the case of the White Sunray.

Both wind farms implemented management plans to avoid construction and disturbance in sensitive areas, rehabilitated affected areas, and created replacement habitats. The environmental teams on the separate projects independently elected Dura-Base mats for temporary access and work platforms, particularly in the identified sensitive areas to minimise the environmental impact. Cumulatively, across the projects, they used over 23,000 square metres of Dura-Base mats.

BogMats for Protecting Site Biodiversity

Dura-Base mats offer a unique solution for reducing projects’ ecological footprints. By evenly distributing weight over a wider area, similar to snow shoes, the mats prevent soil compaction and damage. Its durability allows it to withstand loads of over 80+ tonnes, making it an effective protective blanket for sensitive soils.

In the two South-Western Victorian Wind Farms, Dura-Base mats safeguarded ephemeral wetlands and pasture fields by effectively spreading the loads of the equipment above, protecting the root systems for the grasses and other ground cover below. This prevented complete grass death and allowed for regrowth after the mats were removed. The mats also controlled erosion, ensuring no soil impact, wheel ruts, or compaction from construction machinery.


Tidal Flats Projects

Australia's intertidal zones boast diverse natural landscapes, featuring over 30 species of mangroves, seagrass beds, reefs, sandy beaches, and rocky shores, which support an incredible array of plants and animals. Intertidal zones play a crucial role in supporting commercial fisheries as many species of fish and invertebrates rely on these areas for breeding, feeding and nursery grounds.

DuraBase Bogmats in Tidal Flats

Originally designed to provide access across soft ground, composite mats have also emerged as a valuable asset in protecting habitats in marine mud and other sensitive wetlands.

One recent Tidal Flats project we supplied our mats to was the QAL Waste Line Replacement Project. Located in a sensitive intertidal zone, it required careful management to avoid disturbing the marine ecosystem and surrounding habitat. The project involved working on soft, marine mud prone to erosion and instability. The options were either using the mats or importing thousands of tonnes of crushed rock to cover kilometres of access track required for construction. 

Gravel was not a viable option, due to the additional environmental issues it posed, which included the contamination of the coastal marine area and altering elements of the coastal area that could affect the tidal flow patterns. Also, the use of rock would require an extensive remediation effort which may never have been able to fully reinstate the prior condition of the area.

DuraBase BogMats in Tidal Wetlands

In contrast, Dura-Base mats offered a solution; allowing for easy, low-impact installation and removal with minimal post-job remediation. The mats enabled the construction works a softer footprint by preventing ground disturbance and minimising the risk of contamination of water and soils in the sensitive area.  Made from non-porous material, Dura-Base mats don't absorb contaminants from the site. This also helps ensure that any spills and other material from on top of the mats remains separate from the ground below. This provides further protection to the site by preventing construction materials and any potential spills from leaching into the soil or water. More projects are looking to use Dura-Base composite matting for protection of local ecosystems from potential devastation.


Agricultural Biodiversity

As major projects continue to require access to farmlands in Australia, concerns about agricultural biosecurity and biodiversity are becoming even more critical. Habitat destruction, soil degradation, water resource impacts, the introduction of invasive species and disruption of ecosystems are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed.

Bog Mats Protecting Agricultural Land

One of the most serious and significant threats to our biodiversity and biosecurity is the transportation of invasive species on machinery wheels and undercarriages, which can be transferred across sites putting landholders’ properties at a substantial biological and ecological risk. Introducing a single weed can overrun an entire farm, taking years and significant resources to eradicate. While removing native species can set farmland back, reduce crop production, incur substantial costs, and put the viability of the farm in jeopardy.


Recently, we've seen a surge in requests for matting for temporary access tracks, particularly for corridor works through agricultural land, with a focus on biosecurity. We scrupulously clean and inspect our mats for any cavities that could harbour invasive plant seeds, ensuring they are clear of all plant material which could house hazardous seeds and other contaminants. Our mats help mitigate the risk of cross-contamination to sensitive agricultural land, unlike imported fill like rocks and soils, which can carry or support the introduction of weeds, or fire ants.


The project team at the Dulacca Wind Farm, responsible for the power-stringing scope, were pleased to share their positive experience with utilising Dura-Base matting. The landholder was particularly satisfied with the solution, as it ensured no rock would be integrated into the agricultural land. In fact, one of the conditions set by the landowner was that every single piece of gravel had to be removed, as it makes it harder to work the field when the soil is not in optimal condition for farming.

Composite Mats for Agricultural Biodiversity

Using imported fill materials would have led to compaction and integration with the soil as vehicles traversed on it, requiring mechanical removal and reinstatement of imported materials post-job. In contrast, the Dura-Base mat removal process involved recultivating the land as part of normal cultivation practices, avoiding any disruption to the soil.

The Dulacca Wind Farm project utilised 4,700m² of composite mats for temporary roadways and work platforms. According to our calculations, using mats saved approximately 2,818 tons of crushed rock, equivalent to about 232 loads of 24-ton dump trucks, compared to just 22 semi-trailers needed for transporting the mats. This significantly reduced the need for quarried materials on the project as well as  saw a reduction in the carbon emissions from transportation.

Biodiversity and biosecurity are critical issues that require our collective attention and action. We recognise and applaud the vital work of environmental teams and experts who dedicate their time and expertise to assessing and mitigating potential threats to ecosystems. Their work is crucial to ensuring a more sustainable future. We are proud to be doing our part, in our own small way, by offering solutions that can help projects reduce their environmental footprint.


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