Interesting mass germination of Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) recently. The ground in some parts is covered in a carpet with literally thousands of them.
Before they can sprout Wattles usually need a fire to melt their waxy seed coat. No recent fires on these sites though so my theory is Cockatoos and Rosellas are doing the seed treatment by dropping partially chewed seeds from the trees while feeding. (I am open to other suggestions)
Lyrebirds are pretty active at the site and no doubt will scratch the vast majority of the new seedlings out of existence.
Took the trek in to check on the progress of this site recently. Part of our strategy against Wallaby predation, as well as using big guards, had been to plant Mountain Ash among some of the large dead Sycamore Maple that had been fallen at the site. Initially it had seemed that this plan had worked a treat, but we had underestimated the Wallabies and last time I visited the site (6 months ago) the pesky Macropods had pretty much munched all of the carefully placed plants; all but confirming that our conventional method of using big wire mesh tree guards is the only way to beat these beasts.
Even species that were meant to be Wallabies least preferred food such as Olearia lirata (Snowy Daisy-bush) were being heavily chewed.
On this visit things were actually looking a little better and it seemed that there had been some recovery of planted tubestock; although the ones not properly guarded were not much bigger than when they were planted over 18 months ago.
The Sycamore Maple which had once completely covered the 2ha site is also not giving up without a fight. A clamber around the site revealed many seedlings emerging and we as a group will focus on removing them before they become large feral trees. On the plus side there is mass natural regeneration of native understorey occurring with an impressive diversity of species, including plenty of Wattles; that have germinated without the aid of fire. The Maple logs that we left in-situ have been a massive bonus because the micro-climate they created has been perfect for fern regeneration, which is happening all over the site. The logs are breaking down quickly now with a variety of Fungi helping the process. We will have another planting day later in the year on this site (using the big Wallaby guards) so keep a look out for it if you are keen to lend a hand.
Overall view of site, showing the mass regeneration of shrubby understorey.
Hiding among the undergrowth a planted Mountain Asf
Snowy Daisy-bush showing the impact of Wallaby grazing.
New Sycamore Maple Seedling emerging.
Rainbow Fungus – Trametes versicolor aiding the decay of the Maple logs.
Logs left on the site aiding fern regeneration
Another log microhabitat providing a great site for fern regeneration.
Prickly Coprosma full of red berries
Lots of Kangaroo Apple with ripe fruit at the site.
Naturally Regenerated Tree Lomatia
Pine Tree that should have been dead by now.
No shortage of Sycamore Maple on site to be found and exterminated.
Yesterday we had our biannual photo-monitoring session, so this one is very up to date. We got on to this site a bit late (over a year after the fire) but we were intrigued with the mass regeneration of Eucalyptus seedlings (probably Mountain Ash) on the site and figured it would be good to record what happens to them over time. You can see in the early photos the shape of the slope, the dead trees and the mass of green that is the newly germinated plants. Now the shrubs in the foreground have grown and blocked our view, which seems to be a common issue with photo-monitoring but we will still keep tabs on the site and its future development.
Another series of photos, showing the recovery of burnt vegetation over time, this site is on an exposed north facing ridge, where the fire was fairly intense. Some sections of the burnt areas along the Grand Ridge Rd had trees that were mature enough to release lots of seeds and in those spots there has been thick Eucalyptus regeneration. Another large area further west was formerly fully cleared land, which had been replanted with Mountain Ash in the early 1990’s unfortunately these trees had not reached adulthood, which meant that the Mountain Ash, (which cannot re-sprout after a fire like other Eucalyptus species) were all killed; no seed to release meant that no new trees germinated after the fires only understorey. Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park have just received a Communities For Nature grant to re-establish canopy trees at this site.
Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park began a Photo-monitoring project back in 2007 as a way of using images to keep a record of the changes in vegetation in the park, especially in spots that were regenerating or likely to be impacted by disturbance (Such as timber harvesting in land adjacent to the park). The most interesting photo-points in the short term at least have been sites impacted in the 2009 fires. Here is a time-lapse video showing the progress of recovery from a site along Bulga Park Rd, just South of Balook. The vegetation type is Wet Forest.
While there is not much flowering activity at present at Tarra-Bulga National Park. Plenty of species are laden with fruit which must make it a time of abundance for a range of our bird species. Had a walk around yesterday and found the following fruits on offer.