Land Management & Biodiversity

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Overview

Many of Burnside's native plants and animals still survive, but the natural woodlands and grasslands that once supported them have almost been lost. By looking after the native plants of Burnside we are providing food and shelter for wildlife; including small birds, butterflies and lizards.

What We Do

Depending on the needs of the site, we remove invasive weed species, allow natural regeneration and establish indigenous plants grown from locally collected seed. Some of the weeds that are displacing native plants and animals are trees and shrubs that have escaped from gardens. Examples are olive, pine, buckthorn and hawthorn. People should not be concerned about the gradual removal of these plants as they have little habitat value and constitute a major fire hazard. They are being replaced with indigenous vegetation that is far more useful to native wildlife.

We also:

  • rescue local plants from development sites
  • propagate local plants
  • make local plants available for planting in parks and reserves
  • provide advice about the conservation of remnant indigenous trees and native vegetation
  • develop and maintain walking trails through the hills face reserves
  • eradicate newly-arrived weeds, such as Monadenia and Bridal Creeper, to prevent them from becoming established in Burnside

We aim to protect, conserve and restore native vegetation and wildlife habitat and, in the hills face areas, to create landscapes which are easier to maintain and are less of a fire hazard.

Organisation

Work sites are categorised as urban sites and hills face sites. The aim is to achieve as much ecological function as possible within the constraints imposed by the site and its usage. Parks field staff members are also encouraged to develop sites at which local plants are used in a horticultural context.

Local indigenous plants are propagated and maintained at the nursery.

Urban sites are relatively small in area and contain either no remnant native vegetation and are being revegetated, or they are very degraded patches of native vegetation. Urban sites require a high level of maintenance because urban residents generally do not tolerate perceived untidiness.
The hills face sites are larger in area and contain more remnant native vegetation but also have severe weed infestations. The work at hills face sites reinforces the fire and proclaimed weed work done by the authorised officer for fire prevention and animal and plant control.

We have constructed walking trails in the Mt Osmond Reserves and at Chambers Gully with others at Langman Reserve and Magill Stone Mine Reserve. The maintenance of these trails is within the work of the CALM program.

CALM field staff consists of a team leader, a field officer and a trainee. There is provision for the assistance of contractors. The Group Team Leader, Biodiversity, works under the general supervision of the Open Space and Recreation Manager, and works with the various parks field staff members, the Environmental Engineer, the Volunteer Co-ordinator and other relevant staff.

Performance Standards

Conserve and restore remnant native vegetation - urban

Aim to conserve all remnant flora on the site, eradicate all weeds, foster natural regeneration and re-establish appropriate local flora.

Audit standards

  • Native vegetation appropriately marked or protected
  • All remnant native vegetation present and undamaged.
  • Core areas weed free
  • Core areas increased in area
  • Major weeds controlled outside core area
  • No weeds going to seed unless less competitive annual species in non-core areas
  • Native grass areas to be cut after seeding with a clean brushcutter
  • Pruning sufficient to keep tidy and free of dead twiggy material
  • No rubbish present

Establish indigenous vegetation at appropriate urban sites

Aim to reintroduce indigenous flora as appropriate to urban sites, including a diversity of ground flora appropriate to the size and profile of the site.

Audit standards

  • Site appropriately marked or protected
  • No weeds in groundflora sites either ready for planting or established
  • Natural regeneration protected
  • Adequate provision for paths, seats and open grass areas
  • Plants planted at or only slightly below ground level
  • Plants firmed and watered in with well broken up soil to ensure no air pockets
  • No new plantings dying of drought

Collect seeds and cutting material

Aim to collect adequate seeds and cuttings to meet propagation targets and maintain a small seed bank. It is anticipated that an adequate bank of many species will be collected opportunistically during normal activities during the year. Collection of bulk grass and some other species will require time to be set aside.

Audit standards

  • No visible damage to source plants
  • Seeds dry and labelled with species, location, number of parent plants
  • Seed storage cupboard dry and clean and not accessible to vermin
  • Bulk seed in bins with lids
  • Naphthalene flakes used to deter insects
  • Bulk grass stored dry and off the floor, stored for less than 9 months

Propagate local flora

Aim to adequately conserve all Burnside flora species, to produce all the plant requirements for CALM sites and for planting by parks field staff.

Audit standards

  • Propagation targets are set by manager, provided orders are received by the end of November.
  • Plants in the nursery to be maintained in good condition
  • Plants labelled with species, provenance, sowing and transplanting dates
  • Continue to increase range of species propagated. Aim to propagate all indigenous species in Burnside.

Nursery management

Aim to maintain the nursery facility in a condition suitable for the safe and efficient production of quality and weed free plant stock.

Audit standards

  • Nursery floor (ground) kept weed free with regenerating native flora retained where practicable
  • Stock kept weed free, native colonisers suppressed but not eradicated.
  • Dead plants disposed of safely
  • Dirty tubes and containers washed and stored
  • Snail bait not accessible by birds
  • Small plants and germinating seeds protected from birds and possums
  • Advanced trees correctly trained to a central leader with plenty of lateral foliage
  • Advanced trees in appropriate sized containers
  • Nursery sheds and office maintained in safe and tidy condition
  • Tools washed before put away
  • Floor swept
  • Pesticide stored in locked cupboard
  • Seeds dry, pest free and labelled
  • Rescued plants alive and growing in nursery
  • Rescue sites left in a tidy state
  • Plants with transferred weeds placed in isolated location
  • Plants labelled with provenance and date.

Conserve and restore remnant native vegetation - Hills Face Sites

Aim to conserve all remnant flora on the site, eradicate major weeds,foster natural regeneration and re-establish appropriate local flora.

Audit Standards

  • Native vegetation appropriately marked or protected
  • All remnant native vegetation present and undamaged.
  • Core areas free of major weeds
  • Core areas increased in area according to agreed yearly targets
  • No major weeds going to seed
  • Follow-up complete on all primary cleared areas
  • No Monadenia , Bridal Creeper or Pentaschistis going to seed anywhere in Burnside
  • No planting where future weed control will be made more difficult
  • Planted species appropriate to site
  • Plants at or slightly below ground level
  • Plants well firmed in with no air pockets
  • Weeds around plantings cut or sprayed, no indigenous flora damaged
  • Plantings in fire prevention buffer area to be approved by fire prevention officer

Maintain the walking trail network in the hills face reserves

Aim to maintain all walking trails in a safe and sustainable condition

Audit standards

  • Slope to side of path maintained
  • Weeds slashed to a minimum distance of 1m on each side of track
  • Major weeds sprayed
  • Weeds no higher than 150mm
  • Native vegetation not damaged (grasses can be cut)
  • Overgrowing native trees and shrubs pruned to height of 2.5m
  • Rock falls and slumping removed and repaired

Maintain, protect and repair assets

Aim to apply appropriate technical solutions to the protection of land and infrastructure at biodiversity sites.

Audit standards

  • Logs placed for path definition and site protection to be 75 -150mm diameter
  • Minor erosion reported and remedial action taken if appropriate
  • Mesh protective fencing with strainer struts at ends and corners with plastic caps on top of droppers pulled tight
  • Signs free of graffiti and appropriate to purpose

Cut grass and weeds

Aim to suppress exotic grasses and weeds and conserve indigenous flora present

Audit standards

  • Weedy vegetation cut preferably before seed maturity
  • Native plants cut at end of cycle: usually by early January, summer active species usually by end of February

History, Philosophy and Principles

History

The City of Burnside Conservation and Land Management Program arose from the local environment planning process undertaken by the Burnside Environment Action Committee in 1997.

In 1998 Council established a work unit to implement the biodiversity actions arising from the environment plan.

The biodiversity program is now referred to as the Conservation and Land Management Program.

Philosophy and Principles

The Conservation and Land Management program aims at maintaining, improving and developing the natural environment of Burnside. This involves the conservation of local Burnside flora and the re-establishment of local flora at appropriate locations. This has the added advantages of reducing fire hazard, reducing water use and adding aesthetics and interest to reserves. We do some of the management work purely for fire hazard reduction although the fire prevention officer undertakes essential fire hazard reduction work from a separate budget line.

In urban areas, the conservation of remnant indigenous flora provides us with an ongoing reference point for the original flora of Burnside and it provides sources for propagation of rare local flora. Using local flora in parks and reserves will maximise habitat for local wildlife and reduce dependence on inputs of imported soils, irrigation, fertiliser, and mowing. The use of local flora will be particularly relevant to implementing Council's water use reduction strategy.

In the hills face reserves, maintained indigenous flora has a lower flammability than weed infested areas.

People need to experience natural areas to appreciate them. Walking trails and interpretation are part of the work of the Conservation and Land Management Program.

By "local flora" we mean indigenous plants which are naturally occuring in Burnside. When these are propagated, only seeds sourced from Burnside are used unless the remnant population is small that some additional source plants are needed to maintain genetic diversity. Species which probably once occurred in Burnside and have a use in our natural areas, are propagated from nearby natural sources outside of Burnside. Records are kept of all plantings. Seeds are collected from as many parent individuals as possible to maximise genetic diversity.

The focus on local flora ensures that the indigenous flora of Burnside is conserved in perpetuity and is not swamped by planted or feral flora.