Fire is a natural process to which our native vegetation is adapted. Although initially devastating, fire can be beneficial in maintaining diversity and survival for many species of plants. It helps release valuable nutrients from the soil and can also be important for stimulating the soil seed bank.
Fire can also create fauna habitat by increasing the number of fallen logs and branches. In addition, tree hollows – created by the loss of tree limbs – are important for local fauna.
With time, most areas of native vegetation will naturally recover from burning, but you can encourage the process by managing any potential threats.
- the best way to protect exposed soils is to encourage the natural regeneration of native plants
- consider using silt fencing, branches or hay bales to manage small areas of erosion on watercourses, sand dunes or steep slopes
- minimise driving on burnt areas by using a single vehicle track.
- prompt and regular spraying of broadleaf weeds in the first few months post-fire will help with native plant recovery.
- contact our offices (details below) to get help with weed identification and to identify suspect plants
- ensure that all vehicles and equipment entering your property are clean and free of weeds before (i.e. contractors and advisors).
- prompt replacement of fencing to prevent stock access will help protect the soil and regenerating plants
- in some instances fence lines may catch soil drift, in areas of severe drift it is better to remove fencing before sand builds up over the top of them
- patching fences is a short-term measure – wire affected by fire will perish after a couple of years.
- every wooden strainer should be checked, they can burn underground and the damage is not noticeable until they are worked on.
Feral animal control
- control will help reduce grazing pressure on regenerating plants
- while feral animals are at low levels, integrated control methods are most effective.
- leave any fallen timber where it lands, this is the natural way fauna habitat is created.
Monitoring the impact of fire
Now is a good opportunity to take some records on the condition of your habitat areas, to monitor the impact of the fire and the recovery of the vegetation over time.
- set up a small number of permanent photo points to record changes over time.
Records and mapping
- take notes on any management works you undertake, such as rabbit control, fencing or weed control works
- if you have access to aerial photography, marking issues with the date on the maps is a very useful way to record information.
It is always best to allow native vegetation to regenerate naturally where possible. Priority should be given to weed control, taking care to prevent any off-target damage to the native plants.
You may see a flush of fire responsive native species, seen only after bushfire.
In certain circumstances, supplementary planting with tube stock or direct seeding with native seed can be useful. If replanting:
- prepared the area to minimize damage from rabbits and hares, and to build soil moisture
- choose only species that were present in the local area
- consider habitat needs such as the eventual structure of the vegetation and how fast habitat will recover
- follow up watering may be required over hot periods to ensure survival.
Contact us to discuss kangaroo management and to obtain a destruction permit if necessary.
We have a range of factsheets about bushfire prevention and recovery to assist you with good land management. Refer to the related links below.