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					                                                                                                                      Winter | issue 56



  Sunshine Coast Conservation                                                                                  June
  Forum                                                                                                            2 Event Management Workshop
                                                                                                                     Series - Workshop 1 – Marketing
                                                                                                                     strategies an d event management
June is shaping up to be an interesting                  four. The afternoon session will have a similar             Buderim 8.30 - 2.30pm
and informative month for Community                      format, and will showcase six local community-              For more information visit
Conservation volunteers and landholders on the           based conservation projects, giving participants            www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
Sunshine Coast.                                          a broad overview of what’s happening on the
                                                                                                                   5 World Environment Day
                                                         ground in the region. Participants can choose the
On Saturday 20 June, council will hold the Sunshine      presentations they would like to attend, and will         7 Noosa Festival of Water
Coast Conservation Forum at Lake Kawana                  have the opportunity to ask questions and provide           Lake Macdonald Botanic Gardens
Community Centre.                                        feedback following each presentation.
                                                                                                                  20 Sunshine Coast Conservation
                                                         Participants will have an opportunity to meet and
                                                                                                                     Forum
This will be the first combined regional event           network with other environment volunteers from
                                                                                                                     Explore the current issues and
for Community Conservation Group volunteers              across the region and reacquaint with old friends.
                                                                                                                     future directions in environmental
and Partnerships landholders (Land for Wildlife/         The forum is also a great opportunity to meet
                                                                                                                     conservation. The forum will
Voluntary Conservation Agreements) from across           and interact with council conservation officers             feature inspiring keynote speakers
the three pre-amalgamation areas. The intent of the      working across the region. Catered morning tea              and informative environmental
day is to explore a range of current issues and future   and lunch will be provided.                                 presentation.
directions in environmental conservation, relevant
to the Sunshine Coast. Participants will enjoy a cross   A range of displays will be set up on the day for        28 World Environment Day Festival
section of interesting and inspiring presentations       people to view and we invite any conservation               Sunshine Coast University
and informative case study discussions.                  volunteer group or associated natural resource

                                                                                                               July
                                                         management organisation to come along and set
The day will begin with an indigenous welcome            up a display for the event. Please contact Michael
from well known local Bev Hand, followed                 Gilles for details.
                                                                                                               11 - 13 Queensland Home Garden Expo
by a short welcome address and region-wide
                                                                                                                       Maroochy Showgrounds, Nambour
environmental overview from Councillor Keryn             Council will provide a free coach service on the
Jones. Our keynote speaker is Steve Posselt, an          day for forum participants with pickup/drop off          29 Event Management Workshop Series
inspiring public figure and civil engineer, who has      points in northern, central and southern locations.         - Workshop 2 – Writing winning
been in the water industry since 1971. Sunshine                                                                      grant applications, build community
Coast residents may know Steve from his 2008             We encourage you to come along to this                      capacity, stakeholder management and
‘Don’t Murray the Mary’ kayak trip. This epic            motivating, inspirational and timely regional event         safety and public liability.
achievement entailed paddling up the Brisbane            as we move forward into the new amalgamated                 Beerwah 8.30 - 2.30pm.
River, dragging his kayak over the Conondale             council environment.                                        For more information visit
Ranges, paddling down the Mary River and                                                                             www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
returning to Brisbane via the Great Sandy Strait         Kenneth McClymont                                         31 National Tree Day Schools
and the sea.                                             Natural Areas Team Leader
                                                         Community Group Support
The morning session will feature eight half hour
presentations, broken into two concurrent sets of
                                                                                                               August
                                                                                                                    2 National Tree Day
                                                                                                               15 - 30 Sunshine Coast Wildflower Festival
                                                                                                               30 - 8 September Weed Busters Week
                                                                                                                      www.weedbusterweek.info.au/
                                                                                                                      publications.htm


                                                                                                               September
                                                                                                                1 - 30 Biodiversity Month
                                                                                                                    7 National Threatened Species Day
                                                                                                               21 - 24 12th International Riversymposium
                                                                                                                       Brisbane, Queensland
                                                                                                                       www.riversymposium.com


                                                                                                                       Bushhands is printed on Envirocare
Bush hands can be accessed electronically on council’s website at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au                                       100% recycled paper.
                                                                                                                View from the top
                                                                                                                Land for Wildlife participants Ian Webster
                                                                                                                and Dianne Lanskey recently installed this
                                                                                                                seat and sign at the top of their Flaxton
                                                                                                                property, for passers-by to utilise while
                                                                                                                enjoying this marvellous view. They have so
                                                                                                                far received generous feedback from local
                                                                                                                walkers (and here’s some from us – we love
                                                                                                                it). Their ingenious idea has been followed
                                                                                                                up with lantana control and revegetation on
                                                                                                                the steep slope directly below the lookout.




Editorial                                                                                                       Winter wattles
                                                                                                                The largest group of Australian trees, our
The cooler season is upon us. Time to dust off           question is that we don’t know. As humans it is        acacias add a golden splash to the winter
the Ugg Boots, stoke up the fire and enjoy the           sometimes very hard to come to the realisation that    landscape. With around a third of all wattles
fresh, clear skies that winter has to offer. It truly    we don’t know something. The beauty of working         flowering in winter (they’re not too choosy
is one of those times of year when the scenery of        with the natural world is that we are humbled by       when it comes to who pollinates them),
the Sunshine Coast comes alive with magnificent          it on a daily basis. Seasonal migration can simply
                                                                                                                watching them blossom this season might help
lighting and shades. I always enjoy the mornings         be a means of life or death for many species. They
                                                                                                                to add a few more species to your
when I drive along Bald Knob Road looking back           may move from the hills down to the coastal plains
across the lowlands to the magnificent peaks of          to avoid becoming too cold, they may be chasing        Mimosaceae repertoire.
the Glasshouse Mountains, and right across the           seasonal food availability, and some move a long
Pumicestone Passage to Moreton Island. The               way north - perhaps even migrating into Asia,
crispness in the air truly indulges this breathtaking    almost as if chasing the endless summer.
view. The days shorten, shadows lengthen, and the
shift in faunal movement occurs.                         Sometimes knowing certain information can
                                                         actually help us to put a case forward to helping
One thing I have always admired with working             a species survive in our region. Often the best        Acacia oshanesii Irish wattle
with landowners and volunteers, who are living           way to gather data is by observing and simply          Wetter areas all around the Sunshine Coast.
and breathing the natural world, is your ability         writing it down if you can. Once you have been
to observe things that others don’t often get to         in one location for a few years, you may start to
or just forget to. When I am out doing visits or         observe regular patterns, or notice whether or
catching up with one of my landowners, I always          not something is a little unusual. Seasons too can
appreciate the stories they have to tell me about        change from year to year. We may experience a
seasonal changes they observe on the land around         particularly dry or wet season that brings anomalies
them. How the types of birds change and migrate          with it. Sometimes, we miss out on the details         Acacia flavescens Red/yellow wattle
through, flying foxes moving on from seasonal            unless we receive it from you who are out there
                                                                                                                Common on sandy coastal soils north
roosts, the frogs stopping or starting, or interesting   experiencing and appreciating these things.
oddities they have seen between seasons. This is                                                                of Coolum.
information that is so worthwhile and helps us           I hope you enjoy the season, and I look forward
to manage our landscape far more effectively. It         to catching up with you at the volunteers
is your input and observations that assist us to         Conservation Forum.
allocate our resources to gain the best ecological
and social outcomes.                                     Josh Birse
                                                         Biodiversity Partnerships Officer
What is it with the seasons and why do things            SCRC Nambour 5475 8501                                 Acacia falciformis Broad leaved hickory wattle
change so much between them? The beauty of that                                                                 Volcanic soils in eucalypt forest
                                                                                                                (Glasshouse Mountains).


Dob in a Fox
Early winter is fox (Vulpes vulpes) breeding season,     also known to raid marine turtle nests around
and a good time to dob one in. As a class two            November each year. Council has an ongoing fox
declared animal, it is one of our most devastating       and wild dog trapping program, and requests that       Acacia ulicifolia Prickly moses
pest animal species, preying on small marsupials         sightings be reported via council’s customer service   Common on shallow or infertile soils in
and other young animals and poultry. They are            centre on 07 5475 7272.                                wallum or mountain heaths.


page 2
Welcome to family
ALCEDINIDAE
The kingfishers
It may be surprising to know that there are
approximately 90 species of kingfishers
throughout the world. The warmer climates have
both the greatest number and the most colourful
species, some having beautiful combinations of
blues and greens, and sometimes red.

Australia is well endowed with 10 species
and several sub-=species described, which
have adapted to a wide range of habitats.
All of Australia’s kingfisher species occur in
Queensland, with five commonly found on the
Sunshine Coast: the azure, forest, sacred, collared
(mangrove) and the laughing kookaburra. There
are two less common visitors, the red-backed
kingfisher and blue-winged kookaburra.

We share four kingfishers with Papua New
Guinea including the forest, yellow and buff-
breasted kingfishers and the blue-winged
kookaburra. The remaining species, the azure,
little, sacred and collared kingfishers occur         patiently on branches or wires intently watching          Their breeding call of kek-kek-kek is far carrying.
further afield.                                       the ground for movement of prey – consisting              The collared (mangrove) kingfisher lives in
                                                      of a range of insects, spiders, reptiles, frogs,          mangroves feeding mainly on aquatic animals on
Despite the fact that kingfishers have a great        crustaceans, etc. Kookaburras also take small             mudflats, and is sometimes joined by the sacred.
size range from the little at 13cm to the large       mammals and birds.                                        The red-backed lives a nomadic life inland in sparse
laughing kookaburra at 46cm they are all easily                                                                 country, but may come to the coast in winter.
recognised with similar shaped, fairly large heads,   Laughing kookaburras live together as a family
short necks, compact bodies, long powerful bills,     with a dominant breeding pair and helpers from            The gorgeous yellow-billed (20cm) is sedentary
short legs and weak feet (two front toes fused).      previous broods. In the evening the family return         and found at the tip of Cape York. The spectacular
In fact kingfishers cannot walk, but only hop.        to their roosting tree and close with a good laugh        buff-breasted (35cm) is a breeding summer migrant
Their flight is swift and direct and their strident   to proclaim their territory. Their morning chorus         of the north.
calls are distinctive and far-carrying.               heralds the day, hence the name, ‘bushman’s clock’.
                                                      Their rollicking laughter is famous in Australia and      Janet Whish-Wilson
All species make tunnelled nests in tree hollows,     world wide. The laughing kookaburra also claims           Land for Wildlife landowner
earthen banks or termite mounds (arboreal             the title of being the largest kingfisher in the world,
or terrestrial). A pair will fly alternately at the   just pipping the African giant kingfisher.
mound making the hole with their strong beaks
and the debris is later scraped away with their       Their cousins the blue-winged kookaburras (42cm)
feet. Although the name implies that kingfishers      are similar in habit and appearance, though much
fish for food, only the exquisite water kingfishers   bluer and have a large white eye instead of brown.
– the azure and the little - dive for food. These     They also lack the black eye band and their manic
two species live on tree-lined creeks, where they     shrieking chorus lacks any laughter.
perch on overhanging branches watching for fish.
When they sight one, they dive into the water         The forest kingfisher (22cm), sacred (23cm),
and return to the branch to swallow it head first     collared (28cm) and the red-backed (24cm) are all
(reversed when feeding young).                        very alike in blues and greens with white collars
                                                      and black eye bands. The forest kingfishers live as
The rest are grouped as woodland or tree              a pair but the others live sedentarily, only pairing
kingfishers, living and feeding in open eucalypt      during the breeding season. The sacred is the most
forests, littoral and paperbark woodlands,            widespread and is a breeding north/south migrant,
mangroves and even mudflats. They all sit             departing in April and returning in August.               Forest Kingfisher



                                                                                                                                                       page 3
Issues affecting                                     Turtle Conservation on the
our rivers                                           Sunshine Coast
Cerran Fawns, Coordinator of Maroochy                Every summer Sunshine Coast residents are
                                                                                                                Pick up any litter you see on the beach.
Waterwatch Inc will present “Issues                  fortunate to share their beaches with some very
                                                                                                                It is easy to get in the habit of carrying a
Affecting our Rivers” at the Conservation            special visitors. Between November and February
                                                                                                                bag with you for that purpose.
Forum.                                               loggerhead turtles, and occasionally green turtles,
                                                     return to our beaches to lay multiple clutches
                                                                                                                Avoid dropping litter anywhere. Invariably
With the Sunshine Coast being one of the             of eggs. There are now only around 500 female
                                                                                                                litter dropped in urban streets eventually
fastest growing regions in Australia, the            loggerheads nesting on Australia’s east coast and
                                                                                                                finds its way to the ocean via the
population pressures are having a significant        the Sunshine Coast population continues to be a
                                                                                                                stormwater, creek and river systems.
effect on the water quality in our rivers. Why       small but important sub-population.
is it that when it rains the creeks and rivers,
                                                                                                                During nesting season, report turtle tracks
in particular the Maroochy River, turn brown         Two volunteer groups, Turtle Care Sunshine
                                                                                                                on beaches to council, or by emailing Turtle
with mud? Why do the coastal cane drains have        Coast and Coolum District Coast Care, have
                                                                                                                Care Sunshine Coast or Coolum District
reddish coloured banks? What causes fish kills?      joined with the EPA (now DERM) to monitor
                                                                                                                Coast Care via the Turtle Care website at
Answers to these questions rely on water quality     the nesting population of loggerhead and green
                                                                                                                www.turtlecare.com.au
This session will outline some basic water quality   turtles. Their involvement has occurred in
parameters that are affected by population           response to an identified need to protect turtle
                                                                                                                Report any fox sightings to council or by
pressures and inappropriate land use practices       nests, and to contribute to the wider Queensland
                                                                                                                email via the Turtle Care website.
including:                                           conservation project. Volunteers are responsible
                                                                                                                Observe the Go-Slow zones in Moreton
                                                     for the implementation of an ongoing turtle
                                                                                                                Bay which is home to one of Australia’s
 Turbidity – it is only mud in the creek, what      monitoring program for nesting activity on
                                                                                                                largest populations of sea turtles.
   harm could it be doing?                           beaches between Golden Beach and Noosa.
 pH – what is it and why is it important?           Volunteers identify and record species, nesting
                                                                                                                Observe dog-on-leash signs on Sunshine
  What is ASS?                                       locations and frequency, protect nests from fox
                                                                                                                Coast beaches. Unrestrained dogs can
 Dissolved Oxygen – how do plants actually          predation and monitor hatching and emergence
                                                                                                                disturb nesting turtles, disrupt existing
  have a negative effect on oxygen in the            success of nests.
                                                                                                                turtle nests and interfere with emerging
  creek?
                                                                                                                hatchlings.
 Temperature – warm water, what’s wrong             Since 2005 more than 30,000 hatchlings have
  with that?                                         made their way to the ocean with the assistance
                                                                                                                Dispose of fishing gear thoughtfully and
 Nutrients – where do they come from?               of these dedicated volunteers.
                                                                                                                ensure crab pots and dillies are not left
                                                                                                                unattended for long periods.
Finally, Cerran will outline what people can do      Although sea turtles have been around for
as individuals to make sure they are not having      millions of years they now face a range of
                                                                                                           Find out more about turtle conservation at
an impact on water quality in our creeks.            threats stemming from human activity, not
                                                                                                           council’s Conservation Forum.
                                                     previously encountered in their earlier evolution.
                                                     Some of these include predation by dogs and
                                                                                                           Julie O’Connor
                                                     foxes, ingestion of litter, entanglement in
                                                                                                           Coordinator, Turtle Care Sunshine Coast
                                                     discarded fishing gear, loss of habitat and boat
                                                     strikes. Everyone can help to protect sea turtles
                                                     by doing the following:

                                                                                                                            Turtle hatchings emerging
                                                                                                                            on the Coast during the oil
                                                                                                                            spill were taken to Teewah for
                                                                                                                            release. Image courtesy
                                                                                                                            Lesley Eagles




page 4
Heritage Park update
Community Bushland Care
The Heritage Park group has been involved in          grandis, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Melaleuca quinquenervia     Have you ever wondered how Land for
another school planting this year, in which nearly    and other rainforest species, the understorey still           Wildlife or Conservation Agreement
300 understorey and mid-storey species were           has the challenge of non-native grasses. Still, that’s        participation fits into conservation on a
planted. Maintenance of previous plantings is         an improvement from the thicket of Lantana it was             larger scale? Does all that tree planting,
an ongoing activity. This group clocks up many        not so long ago!                                              weed control and nest box monitoring
volunteer hours in addition to the working bees,                                                                    really make a difference? Deborah
which makes the weed control a little less daunting   Joan Heavey will be presenting on Heritage Park at            Metters, Land for Wildlife Regional
when we return each month! Although there are         council’s Conservation Forum.                                 Coordinator of SEQ Catchments, will
quite well established trees such as Eucalyptus                                                                     discuss outcomes of conservation efforts
                                                                                                                    on private property at a landscape scale,
                                                                                                                    at the Conservation Forum.




                                                                              Heritage Park volunteers




                                                       About Coolum District Coast Care
                                                       Coolum District Coast Care is an active group of           We have also undertaken several monitoring
                                                       volunteers who have been working for over 10               projects:
                                                       years to protect and conserve the natural values
                                                       of the coastal area between South Peregian and              We are condition mapping Pandanus tectorius,
                                                       Mudjimba. We try to preserve the biodiversity of             between South Peregian and Maroochy River,
                                                       the area through facilitating active participation           looking at the effect of dieback of this iconic
                                                       from the community and governing bodies.                     coastal species, a condition caused by the leaf
                                                                                                                    hopper Jamella australiae. We are investigating
                                                       Our main focus is dunal restoration, with removal            how the Pandanus is being affected and the
                                                       of environmental weeds and additional plantings              best ways of maintaining the health of the tree
                                                       of local providence plants when required. This               and the population.
                                                       provides habitat for countless species of birds,            We monitor turtle strandings - dead and
                                                       reptiles and mammals in our area. This has been              alive and nesting turtles along the coast from
                                                       greatly enhanced by the opening of Coolum                    Mooloolaba to Sunshine Beach. Combined
                                                       Community Native Nursery, which is a run by                  with Caloundra Turtle Care group, all data
                                                       volunteers as a partnership between Coolum                   collected is sent to Dr Col Limpus at DERM
                                                       District Coast Care and Maroochy Waterwatch.                 as part of his turtle research.

                                                       We encourage members of the local community                These projects are ongoing and our way of
                                                       to plant local native species in their garden to           encouraging the conservation of the biodiversity
                                                       enhance the biodiversity and connectivity of               values on our stretch of the Sunshine Coast.
                                                       remnant bushland and National Parks in our area            Learn more about Coolum District Coast Care’s
                                                       and to reduce negative impacts in those areas.             conservation projects at the Conservation Forum.



                                                                                                                                                       page 5
Book Review
Grasses: Native &                                       pressed grass specimens that have been accurately
                                                        identified by the Queensland Herbarium.
Introduced Grasses of the
Noosa Biosphere Reserve                                  The scanned specimens are very clear, with all
                                                        the specimens (with the exception of kikuyu
and surrounding regions                                 grass) having reproductive parts present. Grass
by Sonia Macdonald and Stephanie Haslam                 identification can be a difficult undertaking, but this
                                                        way of presenting images of each grass makes the            Price, who advocates the use of native grass species
Grasses are a part of the landscape that we often       process a lot easier. In addition local botanical artist    such as barbed wire grass and kangaroo grass in
take for granted, yet they play a vital role in         Molly McCloskey has provided accurate illustrations         landscaping. He cautions the use of exotic grasses
maintaining many ecosystem processes. For example       of grass structures. The attractive art and design          such as Pennisetum setaceum, which is supposedly
on cleared land, grass coverage helps protect           work comes courtesy of the talented Steve Cook.             a sterile variety but is easily confused with other
valuable topsoil from erosion and subsequent                                                                        Pennisetum species, some of which are weedy.
sedimentation of our waterways. Grasslands are          The section on invasive grasses has been written            I have noticed this on one landscaped development
also habitat for a range of native animal species.      by Phil Moran from Noosa Landcare and council’s             site in the Noosa area where this weediness is
Grasses are a successful family of plants that have     Conservation Manager Geoff Black. They explain              now apparent.
adapted to growing in many different environments       how invasive grasses arrived here (mainly as
such as tidal flats, coastal dunes and under a          escaped pasture plants, seed contaminants of                In summary this book fills an important gap in our
rainforest canopy. This book is a labour of love        imported products, and landscaping plants). There           knowledge of grasses and the role they play (both
by the authors, who are both passionate about our       is information on how to control invasive grass             good and bad) in our local environment, and is
local environment and dedicate much of their time       species, not an easy task considering the prolific          highly recommended.
engaged in community volunteer work. The book           amount of seed produced by many species. The
follows on from the success of Noosa’s Native Plants,   section on pasture grasses is written by Graeme             Available from and published by Noosa Integrated
written by Stephanie Haslam in 2004.                    Elphinstone, an extension officer from QDPI&F               Catchment Association Inc.
                                                        with many years experience on the Sunshine                  PO Box 172 Tewantin
It covers a range of topics including structure and     Coast. Graeme discusses why sown exotic grasses             Cost $40 plus postage
reproductive parts of grasses, native and invasive      are recommended for pasture production, and                 ISBN978-0-646-50982-2
grasses, and the use of grasses in agriculture and      provides an overview of pasture production on
landscaping. It describes 108 native and non native     the high rainfall coastal zone. The role of grasses         Dave Burrows
grass species with full sized scanned images of         in landscaping is discussed by nurseryman Robert            Conservation Partnerships Officer



                                                        Some ecological values of bracken fern
                                                        The impacts of bracken fern Pteridium spp. as              Description
                                                        an agricultural pasture weed have been well                In the Dennstaedtiaceae family, Pteridium is a genus
                                                        documented. Cattle, horses, pigs and sheep                 of terrestrial ferns whose distribution extends
                                                        suffer detrimental health effects and can even             worldwide, incorporating about seven species.
                                                        die from grazing on bracken fern fronds. In                Bracken is a perennial fern whose numerous
                                                        fact graziers have long been frustrated by the             fronds arise from the underground stems on
                                                        difficulty of effectively controlling the plant.           hard brown stalks, which grow a metre tall. It
                                                        One farmer was reported to say “after 13                   has an extensive system (up to 30 –60 m²) of
                                                        defoliations in one year, the bloody fern came             scaly rhizomes. Bracken species occur in a wide
                                                        up with its head ducked so as to miss the mower            range of habitat types with no particular geology,
                                                        blades”. However the ecological role of this               soil type or climate apparently preferred. Austral
                                                        common and widely distributed plant, and its               bracken essentially regenerates and spreads from
                                                        allies (e.g. soft/false bracken, Calochlaena dubia)        rhizomes. There are three species recognised in
                                                        in the regeneration of cleared land, has not been          Queensland, with only one occurring in SEQ
                                                        as comprehensively researched or documented.               (Pteridium esculentum). Bracken can be easily
                                                        This article aims to highlight some positive roles         confused with soft bracken (Calochlaena dubia),
                                                        that these plants can play in the regeneration of          which is not poisonous to stock and as the name
                                                        neglected pastures back to bushland as a pioneer           suggests has much softer fronds.
                                                        ground cover. Bracken fern has certain habitat
                                                        values, soil stabilisation qualities and appears to        ...continued page 8
Bracken fern Pteridium esculentum                       act as an early establishment weed suppressant.


page 6
Regional Ecosystems: vegetation structure
Over the last several editions of bush hands,
we introduced the regional ecosystems (RE)
framework and its associated land zones. These
land zones are an important component in
understanding how the RE numbering system is
grouped to label the ecosystem type. Land zones
are an important first step in correctly identifying
an RE. The next crucial piece in the puzzle is
to understand the floristic composition of the
ecosystem. To do this one requires basic flora
identification skills to name the dominant species
within the ecosystem.

With approximately 1600 species of plants
throughout the shire, the potential number of
vegetation communities is quite high. However,
the regional ecosystem method looks primarily
at what are deemed to be the ‘dominant’ species         RE 12.2.7 showing key species Melaleuca quinquinervia, Eucalyptus robusta and Banksia robur with various
within the vegetation community. The focus is           sedges in the understorey merging with RE 12.2.12.
on the species that particularly dominate the
ecosystem at first glance. For example if there
are dominant eucalypt species within a particular       on complex of remnant Tertiary surfaces ±
ecosystem, they will be used as the diagnostic          Cainozoic and Mesozoic sediments.
species within the ecosystem description. As
complementary information, there is sometimes a         Some regional ecosystems have quite a few of
± describing other possible associated species in       these alternate major vegetation communities.
that vegetation community.
                                                        Within a description of an RE there is also other
In the regional ecosystem framework, the                information about the particular ecosystem such
description of the vegetation community appears         as:
first as a “short description”, listing a few key        its Vegetation Management Act (VMA) and
species with a general description about the                biodiversity status (endangered, of concern,
landform. For example regional ecosystem 12.5.3             not of concern)
in its short description is described as:                subregions
12.5.3: Eucalyptus tindaliae and/or E. racemosa open     estimated extent
forest on remnant Tertiary surfaces.                     levels reserved under protection and relevant
                                                            protected areas (national parks, reserves,
In addition, to assist the user to correctly identify       conservation parks, etc.)
a particular ecosystem, a thorough “description”         where you may find it, and                            RE 12.9-10.17d showing Eucalyptus tereticornis,
is given:                                                special values or rare and threatened species         Eucalyptus propinqua and Corymbia trachyphloia.
12.5.3: Eucalyptus tindaliae and/or E. racemosa open        associated with it, and comments about              Image courtesy Brit Ballard.
forest with Corymbia intermedia, E. siderophloia ±          particular threats such as weeds.
E. resinifera, E. pilularis, E. microcorys, Angophora
leiocarpa on complex of remnant Tertiary surfaces       For example, under the description of 12.5.3            To start identifying regional ecosystems, the
± Cainozoic to Proterozoic sediments. Melaleuca         within the comments section, it reads as follows:       Queensland Herbarium brochures Eucalypts of
quinquinervia often a prominent feature of lower        “Occurs from Noosa southward. Extensively               Greater Brisbane and Wattles of Greater Brisbane
slopes. Minor patches (<1ha) dominated by               cleared for exotic pine plantation and                  (available on the web) can assist with identifying
Corymbia citriodora can sometimes occur. Occurs         horticulture. Areas of this vegetation >2ha in size     some of the key species you will need to know.
on complex of remnant Tertiary surfaces ±               occurring on Cainozoic to Proterozoic sediments         There are also many other plant identification
Cainozoic and Mesozoic sediments.                       are mapped as 12.9-10.4. 12.5.3a extensively            publications available in council libraries or perhaps
                                                        cleared for urban development. Areas of this            on your own bookshelves. So get out there, enjoy
It is important to note that there may be some          regional ecosystem on Cainozoic to Proterozoic          the season and learn some new plants.
variation within these communities, particularly        sediments that are mappable (>2ha) are defined
localised variations. The RE system also picks up       as 12.9-10.12”                                          References
these variations within the description and may                                                                 www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/
further classify an RE into “major vegetation           If the ecosystem was to be identified as 12.9-          biodiversity/regional_ecosystems/
communities”. Regional ecosystem 12.5.3 for             10.4 instead of 12.5.3, it effectively changes          www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/plants/
example has a major vegetation community                it from being an endangered ecosystem to an             queensland_herbarium/publications/
described separately as:                                ecosystem not of concern. This is where correct
12.5.3a: Eucalyptus seeana, ± E. racemosa, Corymbia     identification of 12.5.3 is crucial to ensure that it   Josh Birse
intermedia, Angophora leiocarpa open forest. Occurs     is adequately protected under the VMA.                  Biodiversity Partnerships Officer


                                                                                                                                                        page 7
Some ecological values                                        In the event of no regeneration of latter                         References
of bracken fern                                               successional species, enrichment planting and
...continued from page 6                                      weeding (to provide competitive advantages to                     L.J Webb, Guide to the Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of
                                                              planted seedlings) are options for encouraging                    Queensland, CSIRO Bulletin No. 232; Government Printer
Bracken – a natural component of
                                                                                                                                , Melbourne , 1948.
Australian bushland                                           greater species and structural diversity.
A common misconception among many land                                                                                          Buchanan, R, Bush Regeneration – Recovering Australian
managers is that bracken fern is not a native                 In neglected pastures, bracken often grows                        Landscapes. TAFE, NSW, 1989.
species. Indigenous Australians have long utilised            in association with Lantana camara, Rubus spp.
the plant both as a food source and also for                  (raspberries), Solanum spp. (eg. wild tobacco), and               R.Hegnauer, Chemotaxonomie der Pflanzen, vol. 1, Birkhauser
                                                                                                                                Verlag, Basel, 1962.
medicinal purposes. It is likely that bracken has             blady grass (Imperata cylindrica). Depending on the
been managed with fire by Aboriginal people in                landscape context, pioneers such as Acacia spp.                   E.V Lassak & T.McCarthy, Australian Medicinal Plants,
eastern Australia in order to maintain a staple food          (wattles), Lophostemon spp. (brush and swamp box),                Reed Books, Victoria, 1997.
source in the form of the starchy rhizomes.                   Alphitonia excelsa (soap tree), Trema tomentosa (poison
                                                              peach) and Glochidion spp. (cheese trees) may also                T.Low, Wild Food Plants of Australia, Angus & Robertson,
                                                                                                                                Australia, 1999
The rapid regeneration in response to disturbances,           start to regenerate as the bracken thicket begins to
especially fire, often results in a dense low bracken         thin out. Undertaking weed control will provide a                 R.T Smith, ‘Possible causes of natural decline in bracken
‘canopy’. In the context of bush regeneration, this           competitive advantage to such regenerating natives.               (Pteridium aquilinum)’. School of Geography, University of
canopy is likely to shade out some weed species (i.e.         As the structural diversity is enhanced by emerging               Leeds,
billy goat weed Ageratum houstonianum, cobblers pegs          trees it is likely that additional species of fauna,
                                                                                                                                T.P O’Brien ‘Some observations on the structure and morphology
Bidens pilosa, and many grasses including molasses)           such as forest birds and wallabies, will utilise the              of Victorian bracken fern’ Department of Botany and
that also respond quickly to these disturbances; but          cover provided.                                                   Zoology, Monash University, Vic.
then require light to thrive. This loss of grasses as
a result of bracken shading further compounds                 The importance of bracken rhizomes as a historical                Pressland, AJ, Scanlan, JC, McLennan, ‘The role of fire in
the ‘weediness’ of bracken in pastures. However in            source of food for humans around the globe has                    the grazing lands of Qld in Fire in Rural Qld, Roberts, Dr B
                                                                                                                                (ed) Selected papers from the Qld fire research workshop
bush regeneration the shading out of exotic pasture           been well documented, however little is known                     series 1980-1989.
grasses is considered an advantage.                           about native fauna that eat the rhizomes. Insect
                                                              herbivory of bracken foliage has been studied,                    G. Dutkowski & P. Kroemer ‘Patterns of bracken regeneration
The rapid re-establishment of bracken also                    however to date only about 100 species of insects                 and mortality in the lower south-east of south Australia’ Woods
provides shelter and foraging habitat for a range of          have been recorded feeding on bracken worldwide                   and forest Department, Forest research branch Mt
                                                                                                                                Gambier, South Australia.
understorey fauna such as bandicoots, antechinus,             (Lawton, 1990).
whip birds and wrens.                                                                                                           J.H Lawton, ‘Local and regional species-richness of bracken-
                                                              Where existing bushland adjoins neglected pastures,               feeding insects’ Centre for population Biology, Imperial
Bushland managers have also recognised the                    bracken fern can be an ally in managing the edge                  College , Silwood Park , Ascot
regenerative response of Pteridium esculentum to fire.        and gradually allowing the edge to move outwards
                                                                                                                                N.I Shorina , The structure of bracken fern stands in relation to
When stands are burnt, bracken is usually the first           - analogous to pioneering pawns commencing the                    morphology, Dept of Botany , Lenin’s Moscow Pedagogical
plant to regenerate. Anecdotal evidence suggests              bushland re-colonisation march. As is the case with               Institute , Moscow.
that fire increases the number and longevity of               any bushland restoration work, weed management
fronds emerging.                                              will provide bracken and other native pioneer                     Thomson, J.A & Smith, R.T (Ed), Bracken Biology &
                                                              plants with a competitive advantage. This type of                 Management, Australian Institute of Agricultural Sciences
                                                                                                                                (NSW) Occasional publication No.40 (1990).
Does this dense coverage of bracken inhibit                   bracken dominated edge habitat often forms the
or benefit the natural regeneration of native                 ecotone between open forest and pasture and is                    G Tolhurst, Response of bracken to low intensity prescribed fire
shrubs and trees?                                             utilised by native fauna such as the swamp wallaby                in open eucalypt forest in west-central Victoria. Department of
Bracken fern fronds have three life stages:                   (Wallabia bicolor), echidnas, pheasant coucals, wrens             Conservation, Forests and Lands, Creswick , Victoria.
sprout, maturity and senescence. In the initial               and bandicoots, as it provides a safe covered habitat
stages of regeneration, the rapid emergence and               adjacent to open foraging areas.                                  Nick Clancy
expansion of bracken fronds can shade many                                                                                      Conservation Partnerships Officer
competitors; however it will eventually go through            While the role of bracken as a food source for
a degeneration stage. Many plants can then overtop            native fauna is unclear, what is evident is that it
bracken and as other regenerating species mature,             provides initial and ongoing cover for a range of
the fern gradually becomes less abundant.                     wildlife in previously cleared areas. Bracken also
                                                              appears to play a pioneer role in the regeneration
The landscape context is a major factor in                    of neglected pastures to forest.
determining the likely success of natural
regeneration, for example, the proximity to a
mature phase seed source and the presence of
features like perches for seed dispersing birds will
determine the likelihood of viable native seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chilli 9387




being present in the soil seed bank.


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                 07 5475 7272. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by contributors to Bush Hands are not necessarily those expressed by Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

				
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