(l-r) Katie, Nicole, Edd and Marshal

The Tuesday Bushcare Team removed eighteen bags of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia in three hours this week.

Nature Works 24/7

The Team is only on site three hours a week however when we finish our partner, nature, takes over the restoration work delivering natural regeneration 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We do 10% of the work removing the weeds preparing the area for natural regeneration then nature does the other 90% of the work.

Edd removing weed regrowth

In Zone 13 we are only using natural regeneration:  no replanting or mulching with imported mulch. This reduces the amount of work required (no shoveling mulch or digging hole for plants) and the cost of the restoration (mulch costs about $40/cu metre and plants cost $2 each).

Green Mulching by natural regeneration of local native grasses is reducing weed regrowth, managing erosion and providing food for butterflies. The FWR Group started clearing the Fishbone in November 2010. Just sixteen months later the picture on the right shows the thick covering of Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima minimising weed regrowth in the area cleared by FWR.

Edd Cross joined our team for the first time last Tuesday. However his experience with Conservation Volunteers Australia meant that I knew I could put the detailed work of clearing weed regrowth.

Two butterfly and four plant species restored to Fox Gully

Zornia dyctiocarpa

Natural regeneration has now restored Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras and Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide butterflies as well as, four plant species including Zornia Zornia dyctiocarpa and Shepherd’s Crook Orchid Geodorum densiflorum, an endangered species in NSW.

Partnering with nature, Fox Gully Bushcare is having a huge impact in restoration of our unique Mountain habitat.

Shepherd's Crook Orchid Geodorum densiflorum

c

d

c

dd

l

(l-r) Katie, Toby and Nicole

Sometimes you meet a person who is just special. Today I was lucky enough to meet two such people. Katie and Nicole are Queensland University of Technology students training to be primary school teachers.With teachers like these two our future is in good hands.

Today was rainy all morning and it was expected it to continue all afternoon. This did not put off these two … the idea of wearing garbage bag raincoats was seen as fun, mud … no problem! This is particularly impressive when you know that Katie grew up in Hong Kong and this is the first time she has actually been in a forest.

I liked these two immediately … especially when Toby my spaniel immediately made friends … however they really won me over when they not only found this tiny snail but also shared my excitement.

Katie and Nicole took everything in their stride, laughed all the time and formed one of the most productive teams we have had in Fox Gully. Between us we removed three wheelie bins of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia clearing another large area of this invasive weed for nature to restore with native grasses, vines and ferns.

Fishbone mat being pushed back

Our Tuesday afternoon bushcare group, Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes, are really making their mark with a large section of Fox Gully now clear of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

Fishbone Fern commonly spreads into our bushland through garden waste dumping. Simply dumping garden prunings is not “mulching” as a contractor recently tried to tell me. Garden green waste dumping is one of the three key threats to Mt Gravatt Reserve. The other two threats are downhill mountain biking/unofficial tracks and feral animals/uncontrolled domestic pets.

Michael with Catch of The Day

Fishbone is a good case study of how of garden waste dumping threatens our precious remaining parcels of suburban bushland. Like most ferns, Fishbone can spread by wind-blown spores, however each plant appears to produce only a few fertile fronds. Therefore, the main way this invasive weed is spreading at our site is via runners or stolon, similar to the runners on strawberry plants.  The word “stolon” comes from the Latin word “stolō” meaning a shoot, branch, or twig springing from the root.

Most of the site is thickly coated in Fishbone which is removed easily but cannot be composted on-site. The stolons and hairy tubers do not decompose easily and will simply re-shoot: approximately one hundred and fifty garbage bags of Fishbone removed to-date.

Forest Pittosporum

At the edges of the infected area the fern stolons are spreading among the native grasses. It is common to pull out a metre long runners with new tubers attached. Left in-place these runners develop in a mat of weed smothering all other plants. It is slow work then you find positive signs of natural regeneration like this flowering Forest Pittosporum Pittosporum revolutum.

My current observations suggest that once we have cleared the Fishbone re-infection by spore transmission is unlikely. Ongoing education is dramatically reducing green waste dumping so with the Fishbone removed natural regeneration with indigenous ferns and grasses will reduce edge-effect and provide long-term consolidation of this unique habitat.


Fox Gully Wednesday Bushcare in Zone 13 will be a little easier this week with new steps providing safer and faster access.

With university exams over I was able to tempt Jian out into the bush for some physical rather than mental exercise. When he left home in Shanghai, Jian was not expecting to find himself swinging a sledge hammer in the bush. He did a pretty good job for a first time, hit the stake every time and didn’t hit his foot at all.

Good progress. By the time we finished today the steps reached about two thirds of the way to our restoration site. The steps will make a big difference for both safety and productivity as we carry tubs of weeds up out of the gully to the fire trail for disposal off-site.

The major weed in Zone 13 is Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia, a fast spreading with shallow fibrous roots and numerous hairy brown or white nodules underground. Unlike most weed species in the Fox Gully site Fishbone Fern cannot be composted on-site because of the combination of fine spores establishing new plants and the long term viability of the underground nodules. Therefore productivity is critically related to the ease and speed of moving large quantaties of weed up the steep slope – work process design.

Another reason for building these steps is to allow access for our Envirionmental Workshop on Sunday August 7th. Botanist Ann Moran, Jager-Moran Environmental will be leading a walk through the Fox Gully site, sharing her amazing knowledge of our native plants, the wildlife that depends on them and the bush tucker value. Information and registration details for the workshop will be available soon: email megoutlook@gmail.com if you would like information sent out.

Natural regeneration is becoming an increasingly important part of our buchcare activities: Nature works 24/7 to build on our work, so the more we learn to work with nature the higher our productivity. Zone 13 is becoming an excellent case study of the power of natural regeneration, therefore we are improving access to allow active site inspection and discussion.