Regeneration Takes Time

Most of the Australian bush is adapted to fire and has the capacity to regenerate, but this recovery process takes time and is largely dependent on bushfire intensity and rainfall. Although seeing a burnt landscape can be distressing, it is important to be patient and observant. You should wait for the bush to show a sign of recovery (e.g. re-sprouting leaves or germination) before initiating any recovery programs so you know what you are dealing with.

This 'watch and wait' period allows native seedlings to establish without disturbance and start to stabilise the soil from erosion (AABR newsletter 143). This initial regeneration period can take up to several months.

Weeds may also regenerate during this 'watch and wait' time, but they will also be contributing to protecting the soil structure with their roots. In general, as long as the weeds are not seeding, they can be doing more good than harm so leave them be for the short term. Recording what weeds are germinating and where in the burnt areas of your property, can help assist you with planning and weed control once it is appropriate to do so. To help with this, the next edition of Hot Topics will be covering weeds after fire to assist you with weed management planning and considerations.

You can set up your own photo monitoring sites to see how the bush changes over time.

While you wait, familiarise yourself with support for bushland recovery and consider addressing new threats to your bushland that may have happened during the fires, e.g.:

  • replacing fences around conservation areas to exclude stock access
  • closing bulldozed containment lines to restrict unwanted access (e.g. 4WD, dirtbike, walkers)
  • erosion control to stop loose soil getting into waterways
  • managing weeds in adjacent unburnt areas

If you need some regeneration inspiration - check out UNSW's Environment Recovery Project, started by our local Wingello Land for Wildlife member Casey.

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