There are four main species of tree ferns found in Tarra Bulga National Park, (along with many other fern species) The two most common you will see are Cyathea australis (Rough tree-fern) and Dicksonia antarctica (Soft tree-fern). The Soft Tree-fern is more common in the moister areas including the rainforest gullies while the Rough tree-fern is more dominant on the slopes. Once you get you eye in it is fairly simple to tell the difference between these two, the most obvious being by comparing the trunks. The Rough tree-fern has much of its trunk covered by the remains of broken off stems (Stipes) Which are rough to the touch, while the Smooth tree-fern is soft to the touch and is covered by masses of soft hairs which are actually roots. On this soft trunk other species of plants will often grow including tree and shrub seedlings, epiphytes and other ferns.
The Friends of Tarra Bulga planting day last Saturday was a great event, which will hopefully result in the return of some towering wet forest in years to come. It will also greatly assist efforts to prevent the re-infestation of Sycamore Maple trees into this area of the National Park.
Volunteers managed to plant 600 Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) species across the site, which was no mean feat given that each plant needed to be carefully placed in a position where they will be guarded from browsing by hungry Swamp Wallabies. This involved scrambling over steep areas thick with fallen branches, while trying to avoid human hazards such as stinging nettles and leeches. While this may sound arduous there were no complaints from the willing and enthusiastic volunteers happy to be out making a difference to the park and enjoying the scenic (but muddy in spots) walk into this secluded planting site.
The group will now carefully monitor this site over the coming years to check that the newly planted trees are growing successfully and retreat any Sycamore Maple regrowth that sprouts from the treated stumps and pull out any new seedlings that pop up. Funding for this project has been supplied by the Victorian Government’s “Communities for Nature” Program.
Friends of Tarra Bulga have a big new project and we are looking for some enthusiastic helpers to get things off to a great start. A couple of years back a huge infestation of Sycamore Maple trees, which can grow up to 30m tall, was discovered in the park. These trees produce winged seeds which can spread in the wind, so the plant has the potential to invade further into the surrounding Mountain Ash forests.
Contractors were used to cut down the Maples and poison the stumps, and the result so far has been a big success. The canopy has opened up and native understorey plants are taking advantage of the light and space and popping up everywhere. To be a complete success however and to help prevent re-growth of the Maple, canopy species such as Mountain Ash need to be re-established. The friends group has secured funding from the Victorian Government’s, Communities for Nature Grants to do this and are holding a planting day on Saturday August the 11th.
The friends are keen for as many helpers are possible on the day but please note the task is a bit of a challenge. Access to the site is 2.5km along a walking track from the nearest road. The planting site itself is covered in logs and branches of what remains of the dead Sycamore Maple trees. While these branches are an obstacle we also plan to use them to our advantage, by planting amongst them we hope they will act as natural tree guards, keeping the new seedlings out of reach of hungry Swamp Wallabies that are notorious for eating newly planted trees. So if you are ready willing and able please come along. The meeting spot will be at the Tarra Bulga Visitors Centre Carpark at 9am on Saturday August the 11th. Please RSVP to Friends of Tarra Bulga – Activities Co-ordinator David Akers at email@example.com or by phoning 5189 1330. (BYO lunch)
The friends of Tarra Bulga are happy to announce that they have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Victorian Government’s Communities for Nature Grants for a major restoration project in the park. The project site is one that is tucked away in a remote section of the park and was only discovered by chance when some contractors were doing some minor control of what was thought to be only a minor incursion of Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) on the edge of Diaper Track.
Once they began it became clear that the task was much bigger than first thought and in the end it was found that this plant was dominating the canopy in a large thicket about 2ha in area. Much expense was spent destroying these invasive trees but the site has now been left with no overstorey species and the potential for the weedy Maple to return.
Thankfully securing this grant will enable the friends group in partnership with Parks Victoria to work to restore this area, by establishing a wet forest overstorey with species including Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) and also allowing the understorey to recover while destroying re-germinating weed species.
The friends group are planning a tree planting working bee on Saturday August the 11th. For further details or to register your interest in attending please contact David Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Images provided courtesy of Park Ranger – Craig Campbell.