A friendly fire
Led by truwana Rangers, cool burning at Friendly Beaches Reserve plans to create the healthiest possible habitat for the vulnerable New Holland Mouse.Read More
In your rush to get down to the glittering ocean waters of Tasmania’s Friendly Beaches Reserve, you’d be forgiven for overlooking what lies further back behind the sand dunes.
But a more leisurely exploration of this reserve, which is a natural extension of its famous neighbour, Freycinet National Park, would turn up coastal heath overlooking a large saltwater lagoon, and beyond that Black Gum and Silver Peppermint Forests.
The coastal heath here is one of the most diverse plant communities found in Tasmania.
The heath can burst into flower at any time of the year, producing a profusion of nectar that draws honeyeaters, such as the Eastern Spinebill and New Holland Honeyeater from far and wide. The coastal heathlands on this stretch of coast are among the largest remaining in Tasmania.
Farther inland lies Black Gum forest, which loves the wet drainage lines snaking out from Saltwater Lagoon. Since European settlement more than 90% of these forests have been destroyed, and Black Gum forest is now endangered in Tasmania.
All this is protected thanks to generous supporters.
Animals: Spotted-tail Quoll (nationally vulnerable), Scarlet Robin, White-bellied Sea-eagle (vulnerable in Tasmania).
Plants: Sand Grasstree (nationally vulnerable), Southern Grasstree, Warty Paperbark (rare), Tasmanian Blue Gum, Juniper Wattle (rare), Slender Honey Myrtle.
Vegetation communities: Black gum forest (nationally critically endangered), Silver Peppermint forest and woodland (vulnerable), coastal heathland, Black Peppermint coastal forest and woodland.
Lurking behind the natural beauty of Friendly Beaches Reserve lie two threats that call for constant vigilance.
The first is the ever-present danger of the mould Phytophthora cinnamomi, also known as root rot fungus, which attacks root systems and cuts off a plant’s ability to take in nutrients and survive.
Our ecologist Matt Appleby describes this disease as a destructive wave moving through the vegetation.
“If Phytophthora hit these heathlands, the invasion front would show green, healthy banksia leaves turning rusty orange, and behind them would lie a field of banksias drained of colour and life, as well as other susceptible species such as grasstrees and hakeas.”
The other threat is also a disease, and menaces the Tasmanian Devils that wander in and out of this reserve as they hunt for food.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease is a terrible cancer that first surfaced in 1996 among Tasmania’s north-east devil population, and since then devil numbers have declined by more than 80% in all but the far north-west of Tasmania. Ongoing research into this terrible disease is critical to the future survival of the Tassie Devil.
A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers who joined our East Coast working bee on 27-28 October to help with weed control, rubbish removal and South Esk Pine monitoring.Read More
Tasmania's east coast was hard to beat as a location for a working bee, so maybe our volunteers got more than a little inspiration from the stunning location. Our team of nine volunteers removed over 800 thistle plants and seedlings, hundreds of gorse plants, and helped with erosion control and South Esk Pine monitoring. Volunteer Helen Tait explains how our working bees are not just about hard work.Read More