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Many Australians feel compelled to help our damaged wildlife after this season's terrible bushfires. Suggested actions have included donating money, leaving water out for thirsty animals, and learning how to help the injured. But there is an equally, if not more, important way to assist: weeding.
An army of volunteers is needed to help land owners with judicious weed removal. This will help burnt habitats recover more quickly, providing expanded, healthy habitat for native fauna.
Emergency - Responses - Animals - Emergency - Food
Other emergency responses, such as culling feral animals and dropping emergency food from airplanes, are obviously jobs for specialists. But volunteer weeding does not require any prior expertise—just a willingness to get your hands dirty and take your lead from those in the know.
Why is weeding so critical?
Bushfires - Areas - Parks - Reserves - Weeds
The recent bushfires burned many areas in national parks and reserves which were infested with weeds. Some weeds are killed in a blaze, but fire also stimulates their seed banks to germinate.
Weed seedlings will spring up en masse and establish dense stands that out-compete native plants by blocking access to sunlight. Native seedlings will die without setting seed, wasting this chance for them to recover and to provide habitat for a diverse range of native species.
Mass - Weed - Germination - Opportunity - Outlook
This mass weed germination is also an opportunity to improve the outlook for biodiversity. With a coordinated volunteer effort, these weeds can be taken out before they seed—leaving only a residual seed bank with no adult weeds to create more seed and creating space for native plants to flourish.
With follow-up weeding, we can leave our national parks and reserves—and even bushland on farms—in a better state than they were before the fires.
January - Fire - Lane - Cove - National
In January 1994, fire burned most of Lane Cove National Park in Sydney. Within a few months of the fire, volunteer bush regeneration groups were set up to help tackle regenerating weeds.
Their efforts eradicated...
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