Managing forests and improving the information base

Although they just go into the black hole that is the OE&H, managed to send comments on the Yuin Mountains draft management plan on time.

Coincidentally this week also received confirmation of my qualification(?) for Government funding (aka the dole) over the next 12 months to complete the exclosure fence and try to make as much as the dole in that time from it and associated activities.

One of these being the low impact management of Allocasuarina stands that as highlighted in the Yuin Mountains  comments are claimed to occupy 3 hectares in Biamanga and 5 hectares in Gulaga.

It was back in mid November when OEH biodiversity conservation manager for Southern NSW Michael Saxon said jobs for the ‘biodiversity team include identifying areas of forest in poor condition that could be rehabilitated’ and “We will use airborne LIDAR [light detection and ranging], which measures the conditions of the forests, to find areas that might benefit from rehabilitation.”

While it’s unclear if this particular aspect of their koala recovery program has been undertaken, as those parts of Murrah State Forest that became Biamanga NP had mostly been logged it seems likely that there is a lot more than 3 hectares of Allocasuarina stands.

There is certainly more than 3 ha. in the exclosure area and I like to think that the management of these stands can be a bit more imaginative and sensitive than what I expect they propose, just bulldoze an area, burn it and plant trees.

As indicated in the Guidelines for Ecologically Sustainable Fire Management “ . . . monitoring is required to verify and inform predictions made on the basis of these guidelines in a local context and to improve the knowledge base generally.”

Vegetation surveys identified thirty nine tree species on this property about half being riparian and rain forest species and the other half occupying slopes and ridges. A couple of years ago the Woollybutt in the snap below, growing at the toe of a slope on a ridge was hit by lightning and killed, an Allocasuarina a couple of metres away lost all of its needles but has since showed feeble signs of life.

 

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What’s interesting is what’s growing underneath the trees after the lightning strike. Weeds, Scotch thistle and American pokeweed, along with Kangaroo apple, soft ferns, generally found in and around rainforest and more apparent in the picture below the largest of about a dozen Pencil Cedar or Umbrella Trees (Polyscias murrayi) a rain forest/wet gully species. This is all new to me but it does help to improve the knowledge base at a local scale.

 

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