The Patch Burn quiz: 1 question, 6 choices. Which will you vote for?

Georgia votingI didn’t intend to write this blog. I started to write another post on patch mosaic burning. But I got stumped by a simple question. I realized that the blog I intended to write would founder if everyone answered that question differently. So this week’s blog contains a quiz, a poll, to see how everybody interprets my puzzling question.

We all know the phrase ‘patch mosaic burning promotes diversity’. It’s a simple phrase but it leaves a lot unsaid. The comparison is hidden. If patch mosaic burning promotes diversity, then it must create more diversity than some other kind of fire regime.

My puzzling question is – what comparison do you have in mind when you say ‘patch mosaic burning promotes diversity’? What is it that you compare patch mosaic burning against?

Continue reading

Burning (for) biodiversity: what is a patch burn mosaic?

Great_Sandy_Desert Framed

Like patch mosaic burning? I bet you know someone who does. The concept – like corridors and connectivity – is popular with land managers and the public, and often adopted with ‘mucho gusto’.

The theory that underpins patch mosaic burning is simple. Continue reading

100 years of habitat change: an animated fire ecology

The Southern Legless Lizard, Delma australis. Original photo courtesy of the Mallee fire & biodiversity team.

The Southern Legless Lizard, Delma australis. Original photo from the Mallee Fire & Biodiversity Team.

Southern Legless Lizards are stylish critters. Big round eyes, happy smile; who couldn’t love ‘em. What they lack in limbs, Delma make up for in energy, excitability, and a dash of fussiness. Southern legless lizards don’t live just anywhere. They like their mallee habitat to be just right.

Fire shapes the spinifex mallee of south-eastern Australia. Fire, and the time between fires; the period when plants grow, die, drop limbs and decompose. As the mallee grows older, legless lizards – like many animals – become more, or less, common. Some species thrive shortly after a burn, others prosper in old, unburnt stands. Continue reading

Ageing the mallee: a history in burnt trees

mallee-spinifex 3

Coppicing Mallee trees and Spinifex grass in Mungo National Park. Original photo: Visit Mungo.

Trees grow short in the mallee. Little rain and poor soils stunt their growth. Over thousands of square kilometers, in semi-arid Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, many mallee eucalypts reach just 6 to 7 meters high. The short trees burn well, especially when growing above Spinifex Continue reading

The Big Grass Years

Themeda 2

How did the Big Wet years of 2010-2011 affect your local vegetation? Many readers sent in their observations when I asked this question in an earlier blog. Last week I summarized all of the observations from wetlands and floodplains. In the post below I summarize observations about grasses, herbs and weeds from the ‘dry’ hills and plains. Continue reading

From Ballarat with love: Great biodiversity videos

Norm cartoonNothing on TV this weekend? Then watch a biodiversity video, or perhaps eight of them!

Last month the University of Ballarat hosted the excellent Biodiversity Across The Borders conference. Videos of many of the talks have just been posted on the University’s video site.

The opening speaker, Professor David Lindenmayer, kick-started the day with a fantastic talk on ‘Effective ecosystem restoration and management’. David’s talk includes many new findings from his group’s research on woodland restoration, and the video is a definite ‘must see’. I gave a talk on ‘Natural regeneration: connecting regional Australia’. An earlier blog contained a different version of the talk which I taped at home. This live, conference video includes a Google Earth ‘fly-over’ tour and loads of bad jokes, which weren’t in the earlier version. Continue reading