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Australian Trees and Bushfire

What a devastating season it has been due to bushfire. For those of us peering on from a distance but riding the emotional roller-coaster ride of helplessness and grief, here are some facts to hold onto.

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Our hearts have broken with the devastation of whole communities, millions of acres of vegetation , the loss of precious human life and our indigenous wildlife in unfathomable numbers, all as a result of bushfire.  With absolute gratitude, our ongoing thanks is extended to the fire men and women, emergency response personnel, community workers, the local heroes who were and remain at the front in these horrendous conditions. Our true Australian spirit is being tested like never before.

In time, when people and communities get back on their feet, please know that Speciality Trees is here to assist with amenity planning, re-vegetation advice and material where possible. In time, the trees and shrubs will grow and be replaced but the heartache of human and community loss will take great strength and fortitude to overcome. The extreme stress of losing homes, livelihoods, gardens, and property will be difficult to cope with. Mental health will be a concern. The community needs to remain connected. With crossed fingers, we hope that management plans going forward are plotted with a breadth of reason and expertise to deliver well-considered, enduring landscapes that replenish flora and fauna and the Australian soul.

For those of us peering on from a distance but riding the emotional roller-coaster ride of helplessness and grief, here are some facts to hold onto.

  • Fire can trigger seed germination as seeds respond to fire ‘cues’ like heat and smoke
  • Much of the Australian flora has evolved to cope with fire. Others more sensitive to fire will require human assistance if they are to survive on. There is good expertise available on this front. Seed banks exist for this very purpose.
  • Veterinary hospitals supported by generous donations from the public will do their utmost to treat and repatriate our animals. Planting green again will help to eventually re-house them.
  • The best way to protect exposed soils is to encourage the natural regeneration of native plants suitable for the region.
  • Retain fallen logs and branches affected by the fire in the landscape. These can be new structures important for the rehousing of local fauna.

It has never been more important to plant trees. Flavour tree and shrub selection with native species local to your area to encourage back native animals but also include other climate suitable trees important for biodiversity. Research the plant palette of the locality you live in and follow that as a template. Fence areas to encourage native flora and fauna to revegetate.  Talk with land managers and horticulturists for specialist advice.

References with useful weblinks:

Wildlife Heath Australia 

Department for Environment and Water - South Australia

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet 

Natural Resources SA  Murray-Darling Basin

The Conversation

ABC News 

31/01/2020 In the News

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