Watch this video to restore your enthusiasm for restoring your world

Emilys 6 Happy ShovelsTo restore the world we need to re-charge our batteries. We can’t save our climate, soils or biodiversity on a flat battery of despondency. Our governments aren’t going to restore the environment or our confidence – but our communities can.

I avoid posting blogs that simply say, ‘Ooh look, here’s something cool from the internet’ – but you do have to watch this. You’ll love it.

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The Big Wet regeneration pulse

Red Gum Seedlings

Red Gum seedlings regenerate after the Big Wet flood waters recede

In an earlier blog I asked, ‘What impact did the big wet of 2010-2011 have on native vegetation? Did heavy rains promote lots of regeneration in some areas, but not others? Or did nothing much happen at all?’ In response, many readers submitted lots of great observations from across south-east Australia.

I collated the observations of wetland and rivers and grasses, herbs and weeds in earlier posts. But what happened to trees and shrubs? Did the heavy rains trigger lots of regeneration or nothing much at all?  Initially I thought there’d be lots of regeneration in most places but, as it turned out, readers noted abundant regeneration in some areas but none in others. What caused these patterns? Read on to see what everybody found…. 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

Wonders of the Big Wet

Ovens River red gumsIn July, I invited readers to send in observations about how the ‘Big Wet’ years of 2010-2011 affected native vegetation in their local area. Many readers submitted fantastic comments, which I promised to synthesize. I’ve divided the observations into a series of topics which I’ll post in the next few weeks as there were far too many comments for one blog post.

This week, I’ve pooled together all of the observations from the wettest of the wet areas, from floodplains, rivers and wetlands. 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

Monitoring ecological change: a view from the streets

1 Street View Young Red ExoticImagine you live in the year 2063. You want to understand how the distribution of tree species changed in the past 50 years, to help you to assess the impacts of climate change.

What kind of data would you wish you had from 2013?

Let’s brain-storm a few ideas. I’m sure it’d be helpful if, back in 2013, people had recorded the distribution of plants along transects that criss-crossed the countryside, crossing the wet-to-dry climate gradient. This information would allow you to see which species expanded, contracted or migrated during the period, and how these changes related to changes in rainfall. Continue reading