Small things done now will be disproportionately important in decades to come.
NEXT MEETING 7pm Thursday 15th July at Sunnybank Hills Library
Level 2 Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown
Cnr. Calam Rd. and Compton Rd. Sunnybank Hills
BOOK REVIEW By Jane Cajdler
After a recent trip to the Sunnybank Hills library I came home with an engrossing book called “After the Greening - The Browning of Australia” by Mary E White. This easy to understand book with colourful illustrations, maps and photographs, traces the evolution of Australia from a green and forested, well-watered piece of Gondwana to the driest, vegetated continent on the planet.
Typical of other Mary E White books, the more technical information is broken up by short, half to one page case studies expanding on facts she is dealing with at the time, helping to keep the readers interest and attention.
It documents the rifting and stretching which occurred from 160 to 45 million years ago, finally breaking from Antarctica into the drifting stage from 45 to 2.4 million years ago to the drying stage from 2.4 million years ago to today. There are excellent descriptions of how Australia coped during the ice ages with the lowering water levels around the globe and drying out of our continent. It is difficult to believe that at this time people were living here and surviving the privations of climate change and an ever dwindling water supply.
The last glacial maximum, between 18,000 to 14,000 years ago, saw most of the continent covered by wind-blown dunes, acute aridity and enormous stress of flora and fauna.
The arrival of Aboriginal people in the continent, possibly as long ago as 140,000 years ago, and the impact of their fire-stick farming on an ice age-affected land was profound, altering the nature of vegetation over much of the continent. The final chapters deal with the changes and stresses put upon the land by 200 years of European settlement with its introduction of new species of plants and animals.
Mary makes the point that “For the average urban Australian who does not see the continent as vast arid landscapes, red deserts and empty gibber plains, the ‘typical Australia’ is mainly gum trees in open forests and the eucalypt woodlands of the better-watered eastern sector. Together with the ‘Mediterranean-type farming is the way to go’ syndrome, this myopic view has been responsible for most of the ills which afflict the land today.
Factoring Karawatha Forest and the biodiversity of SE Qld into the knowledge gained by reading this book has reinforced my view of the uniqueness of our region, its limited size in relation to the rest of this vast continent and the importance of doing all we can to preserve as much of it’s biodiverisity as we can during the current frenzied phase of development. I believe everyone with an interest in the environment should read this book to appreciate where our country has come from and the possibilities of where it is heading.
It should be a prerequisite for politicians, policy makers and anyone who determines the future of Australia, to go on an extended trip to get a perspective on what the real Australia is before they are allowed to assume office. Their journey should be preferably in basic and reasonably uncomfortable transport which does not insulate them from the environment, not flitting in VIP aircraft or in the air conditioned comfort of limousines. Seeing how marginal the conditions are and how unpredictability is the characteristic of most regions, and that drought almost everywhere is inevitable sooner or later, would be a revealing experience for most.
BUSH CARE WORKING BEES
Bush care working bees are held on the second Sunday of each month 7am-9am. Confirm with Dennis at Dennis.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0450 353 206
BCC CREEK RANGERS BIODIVERSITY FORUM
Bernice and Nikki attended the Biodiversity Forum on 20 June and following are some of the main points on presentations at the forum.
Spiders- bio-indicators of bush care sites, (Rob Whyte):
Where proper restoration of bushland has occurred, there has been a steady increase in numbers and species. This was shown for example quite successfully with the restoration of the Walton Bridge Reserve, The Gap with a distinct increase in numbers.
Suggestion from public: when clearing weeds for restoration e.g. Lantana, cut a small path through the centre, then move outwards thus giving animals and insects a chance to move out.
Bio-diversity/Fire management, (Prof Clyde Wild): in Australia, Fires- Destroyer or Renewal?
The answer seems to be-whatever the required outcome needs to be. Total destruction such as in Victoria in 2008 and at Griffith University in late ‘90’s looked disastrous and certain vegetation and animals were lost but many such as grass trees, certain eucalypts or cycads survive. Some e.g. Banksia seeds and Greenwood orchids depend on fire. Intense fires ‘open up’ the forest. Mountain Ash seeds depend on fairly intense fires and stopping this will kill off these trees and the ecosystem will eventually completely change. Repeated fires have a distinct effect where only the fire resistant or fire dependent plants will continue while minimal fires will allow for a richer, denser and more diverse ecosystem. Frequent fires will destroy ground dwellers and insects e.g. Ants. We still don’t know enough to understand the long-term effects. In the Karawatha Forest-Greenbank Corridors fires will destroy old growth and animals hence fire regimes may have to be approached with a certain bias towards maintenance.
New and emerging weeds, (Dr Sheldon Navie):
There have been constant reports of these everywhere! Especially the garden escapees. Can be anything from ‘exotics’ i.e. Imports to ‘natives’ coming from another area in Australia e.g. Northern Olives. Some take over wetland e.g. Job’s Tears, look like wheat, others take over waterways e.g. Kidney leaf. Check: Weed watch website: www.technigro.com.au
Frogs and bio-diversity of local waterways, (Harry Hines):
Temperature sensitive frogs come in great varieties of colour, calls (laughing, bleeping, barking, clicking) and habitats. There are ground frogs, tree frogs, burrowing (in KF, but vulnerable), swamp and grass (even in the City!), some 30 species in Brisbane (in KF 23 species) and approximately 50 outside. The Green-thighed with a yellow air sack is unique to KF. Some are unique to Queensland e.g. Mammalian frogs or the rainforest ones. There is a need for long-term conservation. Cane toads, one of the main threats, are distinctly different both as an adult and as eggs forming long black spaghetti-like threads. Toad egg elimination is one of the best controls. As well, frogs prefer ponds with sharper edges and more vegetation. The main threats: soil acidity (Wallum areas), habitat loss (wetland), area degradation pollution, mowing, and predators e.g. Introduced fish, herbicide spraying.
Prevention: Public education, weed control, wetland protection, rehabilitation of habitats.
ALGESTER FUN DAY- Sunday 15 August
The annual Algester Fun Day is to be held this year as usual at Col Bennet park cnr Ridgewood Rd and Yorrell St Algester
Time – 10am-3pm
We will be setting up a community awareness display and would appreciate some volunteers to come along and help. If you have an hour to spare and would like to find out more about Karawatha your interest would be greatly
DATES TO REMEMBER - July/August
||Thur 15th July
|Algester Fun Day
||Sun 20th July
|Bushcare Working Bee
||Sun 8th August
||Thur 19th August
Report illegal activities to 3403 8888