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. page 8 Disclaimer: Contributions to Bush hands are most welcome, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Council, please call the Customer Service Centre on 07 5475 7272. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by contributors to Bush Hands are not necessarily those expressed by Sunshine Coast Regional Council.