30 August 2015 – Biodiversity in the Paddock
Twenty-four eager participants took part in our Biodiversity in the Paddock workshop on Sunday the 30th of August.
Hosted by local landholders Peter Hansen and Sally Roadknight on their beautiful property at the foot of Mt Tarrengower, they heard from first-class presenters Cassia Read (on moss and lichens), Steve Williams (on moths) and Karl Just and Gordie Scott-Walker (on native flora and fauna). Geoff Park (Natural Decisions and Natural Newstead) expertly kept the flow, whilst often highlighting the stunning bird life to be found all around in the property.
Peter and Sally have spent 15 years on their property with a goal to bring back local birds. They now host a impressive bird list of over 150 species. Geoff congratulated them on their efforts and reinforced that we should take a staged approach in land management. Firstly understanding what may have happened on the property in the past, then observing what is happening now and finally considering what could be done in the future.
A farm tour allowed participants to see for themselves the impressive impact of tubestock planting, natural regeneration through removing grazing, and the effects of erosion control on the creek which funnels run-off from Mt. Tarrengower through their property.
Gordie turned over a couple of the tiles he had strategically placed on the property and provided us with a detailed list of the reptiles and amphibians, and the hundreds of birds, and plant species that he has observed on his parents property, reminding everyone of the gains to be had from preserving or revegetating land.
The message of the day, from all four presenters, was the huge value of biodiversity in the paddock, from the mosses and lichens which hold soil together, to the beautiful variety of moths which feed from and live on all kinds of plants. Never has Cassinia arcuata (‘coffee bush’) appeared such a fascinating and valuable plant in the landscape!
Participants came away well enthused to take similar steps on their own properties. Many felt they would now walk through the landscape with a whole new appreciation – knowing that often ‘bare earth ain’t bare earth’. The workshop reinforced to all of us how everything is interconnected and reliant on each other.
Resources and Links from the Session:
About the property:
- PRE1750EVCs – map of Pre-1750 Ecological Vegetation Classes
- CurrentEVCs – map of current Ecological Vegetation Classes
- Fauna species observed at 402 South Parkins Reef Road – 23 August 2015
- Flora species observed at 402 South Parkins Reef Road – 23 August 2015
- Revegetation in farm landscapes – brochure produced by Jim Radford, Andrew Bennett, Rohan Clarke, Alastair Stewart and Greg Holland
- Restoring-Landscape-Resilience – brochure by Jim Radford, Jann Williams and Geoff Park relates to north central Victoria
- How much habitat is enough? – brochure by Jim Radford, Andrew Bennett and Lindy MacRaild
- Landscape-design-tips – by Jim Radford provides info on restoration for rural landscapes
- Biodiversity in the Paddock – a land managers guide, published by the CSIRO.
- Landscape Restoration – checklist and resources – Tips from Geoff Park
- Natural regeneration: connecting regional Australia – Ian Lunt’s fascinating blog post on natural regeneration
- Ants in our ecosystems – a description of some ant species and their role in the local landscape
- BirdLife Australia – the national organisation for bird study and conservation
- Birds in Backyards – a range of existing monitoring programs for birds
- Connecting Country’s Habitat for Bush Birds project
Mosses and Lichens:
- Booklet “Mosses of dry forests in south eastern Australia” – now available from The Environment Shop in Castlemaine – 325 Barker St, Castlemaine 3450, phone: 03 5472 4160, or from Beth Mellick at the Norman Wettenhall Foundation.
- Lepidoptera_biodiversity – Steve William’s fascinating farm guide to Moths
- Entomological Society of Victoria – produces the “Moths of Victoria” field guides
General references and links:
- Bowerbird – website to assist you in identifying what’s on your property.
- Museum of Victoria – also useful website for ID purposes
- Conservation values – of native vegetation on farms
- Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club – has a growing archive of information on birds, butterflies and other biota from across the Mount Alexander Shire
- Natural Newstead – Geoff Park’s local blog on flora and fauna from the Newstead area and surrounds
- Cactus Warriors – Webpage for the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group who consist of Landcare and other volunteers dedicated to the eradication of Wheel Cactus.