I was lucky enough to attend Peter Ridgeway’s “Restoring Native Wildlife” course way back in September. Peter is a Senior Land Services Officer (Biodiversity) at Greater Sydney Local Land Services. We visited several Cumberland Plains sites to look at ways of finding, managing and monitoring resident fauna and managing Bushcare activities to protect and benefit wildlife. It’s so easy to get caught up with the problem of weeds and their removal and this course reminded me that there’s more to Bushcare than weeding. Peter emphasises the importance of the soil, the micro-organisms and the macro-invertebrates that can so often be overlooked as we focus on getting rid of the big, “in-your-face” weeds.
The take-home message for me? A sustainable Bushcare site starts from the ground up. Bushland rich in floral and faunal biodiversity needs coarse woody debris. It is critical habitat for those little critters and the more well-known and loved fauna rely on them. So, for example, branches that fall to the ground after a windstorm need to stay preferably where they fall. If they need to be moved, at least leave some debris, on site. Leave some of the woody weed material scattered around.
by Monica Nugent