Survey Site 9

Kangaroo Fern clings to a blackwood under the protective canopy of tall Eucalypts.

History:

Most of this property was cleared for cattle grazing many years ago. A strip of bushland on either side of the creek somehow avoided being cleared, although it was still heavily grazed. The result was an area of bushland with many mature Eucalypts, but a severely degraded middle and understorey. When cattle grazing in the area ceased, woody weeds moved in and multiplied exponentially. By the time the landowner’s family decided to take action, there was almost nothing left but the Eucalypts. The woody weeds had even managed to take over a large grazing paddock, filling it with unpalatable weedy vegetation.

Blackberry had completely smothered acres of undergrowth.

Action:

EVC 29: Damp Forest. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 83: Swampy Riparian Woodland. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 53: Swamp Scrub. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 16: Lowland Forest. Victorian Status: Vulnerable

Firstly, the bushland was fenced off from cattle permanently. Following that, the eradication of woody weeds began. It took several years to treat such an enormous amount of weeds with herbicide, as contractors gradually worked their way to the creek. Simultaneously, weeds on the adjacent paddocks began, both to reclaim the paddock and to prevent weed reinvasion into the bushland.

Herbicide takes effect on the blackberry. Dead canes are not removed as they will quickly rot down.

Once the entire site had been treated for the first time, follow up herbicide application was carried out, and by the third year, the weeds were almost gone. Following the environmentally sensitive application of herbicide, seeds from the original forest that had laid dormant in the soil for years, sprang to life in unexpected quantities. It became apparent that revegetation would probably not be needed.

Various indigenous grassy and herbaceous species sprang to life, once the blanket of blackberry was eradicated.

Future Aims:

This site is recovering slowly; a legacy of the severity of weed invasion that once dominated the bushland. Weed patrols continue on a regular basis in the bushland and paddocks, to ensure that the native vegetation remains in pristine condition. The property is a testament to the resilience of seeds produced by indigenous plants, and that any remnant patch of vegetation has the potential to be fully restored.

Status:

The success of this project is best measured in terms of how many acres of remnant bushland were saved against the cost of saving it. Significant improvements in wildlife and floral abundance and diversity have already been seen, but this site has a fair way to go before it has fully realized its potential.

This graph shows that the diversity of wildlife species making use of the bushland increased following weed control works.

This graph shows how the indigenous species were able to regenerate once the competition from weeds was removed.

Sightings:

Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)

Statistics

Location:

Red Hill, Victoria

Project Began:

2005

Acreage:

60

Issues:

Large areas cleared for grazing. Remnant vegetation severely inundated by weeds.

Tasks:

Exclusion of livestock. Large-scale weed control.

Species Prior Works:

Flora 87 Fauna 20

Species After Works:

Flora 125 Fauna 69