Reconstructed ecosystems

on 17 Aug 2015 

Last Friday I took advantage of a cracker day on the South Coast to head out to the Fitz-Stirling properties to install some extra dieback signage at property entrances, check how much African Lovegrass is left to spray in order to finally eradicate it from our Beringa Reserve, and to check on recent progress with the Monjebup restoration. 

Several hectares of granite country on the south end of Beringa that were formerly cleared have regenerated naturally into an extraordinary shrubland of the granite-loving Grevillea tetragonoloba. 

It's in full flower at the moment. When Angela and I were out there earlier in the week on a cold, windy morning, it was alive with Tawny-Crowned Honeyeaters - hundreds, possibly thousands of them, filling the air with their chatter. 

I was determined to get some shots on Friday. They were there again, though not in the same numbers.  However, I was completely distracted by the flocks of Carnaby's Cockatoos feasting in the Grevillea. These explained all the flowers on the ground we'd spotted earlier! 

Like other formerly cleared areas on some of our properties, this is an interesting example of an ecosystem that's regenerated into something a little different to the original. In this case, it's an ecosystem without the mallee eucalypt component, but nonetheless with a high conservation value. 

These observations will help inform a proteaceous restoration project we're about to embark on with generous funding from a donor who's keen to help us protect the rapidly-declining Carnaby's Cockatoo.

A few folks had commented on the quick restoration results at Monjebup from my last post, so I took a few more shots to demonstrate the development that occurs between one and three years from direct-seeding.

Much of the 2014 area lies directly alongside the 2012 area, and we know from our monitoring that we have denser establishment in the 2014 area. But you’d never be able to pick it just by casual observation without the monitoring!

You never mind the long drive home on a warm spring evening. There are broad brushstrokes of a bumper crop of flowering canola - supposedly the purest yellow that occurs in nature - across the Fitz-Stirling landscape just now.

The wildflowers are making their appearance, and the silhouetted line of the Stirling Range at dusk presents a view Picasso would have loved.