Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Fallen timber and leaf litter for healthy landscapes

Posted on 19 January, 2021 by Ivan

We have recently had some positive discussions with local landholders about the return of insects, reptiles and birds to their properties during 2020, especially with the higher rainfall and cooler conditions we’re experiencing this summer. We really enjoy hearing stories from landholders about what is happening on the ground. It keeps us motivated and passionate about providing support and advice for healthy landscapes. Both landholders noted that parts of their farms had sections of fallen timber, woody debris and leaf litter, which they retained as a deliberate action to increase the biodiversity and health of their farms. A diverse range of insects and birds are beneficial for pest control and for pollinating many important plants on farms, as well as forming part of the food chain that is beneficial to a healthy landscape.

The Sustainable Farms initiative has produced a comprehensive fact sheet about the importance of retaining dead trees, fallen timbers and leaf litter in landscapes. Sustainable Farms is an Australian National University initiative supported by philanthropic organisations, industry groups and government.

Fallen dead wood provides important habitat for a suite of invertebrate species dependent on decaying wood for their survival. These species play an important role in recycling nutrients in forest and woodland ecosystems. They include a range of species that feed, breed, or shelter in dead wood, or may be predators, or parasitoids dependent on species that live on dead wood. Birds and reptiles feed on these insects, as well as other small marsupials and mammals. Standing dead trees, whether killed deliberately from ringbarking or by bushfires, form a critical resource for fauna, especially following intense wildfire. Connecting Country has been working with landholders for over a decade to convey the importance of keeping some undeveloped areas of their properties as wildlife habitat.

Leaf litter and wooden debris are vital to birds and many other animals on farms (photo: David Adam)

 

There is always a fine balance between keeping places wild and healthy, and managing bushfire risk, so obviously careful planning is required around houses and buildings in certain settings, such as heavily forested properties.

For further information please read the ‘Keep your fallen timber and dead trees’ fact sheet from Sustainable Farms – click here

 

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