Nov 23 Swainsona sericea update

On Nov 23 in the late arvo Johno and I went up the range via Burgess Lane off Boyes road for the annual collection of pods from the known swainsona sericea plants (about 24)

The road had been graded and there was a bit of confusion about where we normally park – we ended up parking about 100 metres from our normal location – a stroke of luck as it turned out

We checked all plants on the north side of the road that had flowered in late September and pods were scarce – some pods still immature were collected anyway and kept moist so they have a chance to mature.

Pods found outside the mesh guard

Swainsona sericea greenish pods maturation in water

Despite the meagre collection of pods we were satisfied thats all we could do and headed back to the car. Nearly back at the road and we started to take an interest in some flora on the north side of the road on steep ground close to the car. Eagle eyed Johno spotted a small swainsona sericea and elated we searched some more and I found another one. We gps’d and recorded data and it was getting late and we decided to call it quits.

Just as we were at the car Johno suggested we have a quick look on the south (high) side of the road that had been burnt in autumn 2012 – to our amazement we found another patch dubbed Site 10 of plants with pods as well as a number of individual plants. We collected 50 pods and recorded locations – not all data has been finalised yet but this find just about doubles the number of known plants. And most significantly it reassures us that the fuel reduction burn planned next autumn is likely to deliver more positive outcomes for this plant we have been monitoring for the last 6 years.

Site 10 habitat post autumn 2012 burn view above road.

Site 10.1 habitat view to road edge

Site 10.5_seed pod s prior to collection.jpg

Fuel reduction strategy

On Sunday 24th November Johno and I drove up the Trig Point track from Burgess Lane access from Boyes Road to Baranduda Regional Park. A fuel reduction burn had taken place in autumn 2012 on the high (southern) side of the track leaving the low (northern) side of the track unburnt.

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

On the ground the difference in vegetation was pronounced

High side of Trig Point Track burnt in autumn 2012

Low side of Trig Point track - unburnt

Low side of Trig Point track – unburnt

It looks as if the burn off on the high side has resulted in more vigorous wallaby grass regrowth and flowering – and its tempting to conclude therefore making the fire risk worse. But the real purpose of the fuel reduction burn is to minimise the likelihood of a fire wicking up the loose and highly flammable bark on stringybark and to a lesser extent box trees potentially leading to a crown fire – upon examination of the blackened tree trunks in the photo below it would appear that this outcome has been achieved.

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

But the real purpose of the trip was to collect seed pods from the silky swainsona sericea plants we have been monitoring over the last 5 years. More about the outcome of that in the next blog entry.