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Landholders urged to keep fallen trees for wildlife

Trust for Nature is urging landholders impacted by bushfires to keep as much fallen wood on the ground as possible.

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Trust for Nature is urging landholders impacted by bushfires to keep as much fallen wood on the ground as possible.

Unfortunately thousands of trees have been killed by the fires and are now lying on the ground, prompting some property owners to feel the need to ‘clean up’.

However Trust for Nature’s Conservation Science Advisor Dr Doug Robinson said it’s important that they leave as much fallen wood as possible to help with the natural recovery of ecosystems and survival of wildlife.

He said, “As a landholder it can be disheartening to see lots of burnt timber on the ground and it can look messy, but wildlife, fungi and plants need this woody habitat now more than ever.

“Animals need hollow logs to live in and fallen tree trunks to hide under—particularly when landscapes can be bare and leave animals exposed to predators,” Doug said.

The logs also help provide shade, moisture and shelter for plants and protection from increased grazing pressures from animals such as deer.

Decaying timber also provides food sources for insects and is vital in kick-starting the food chain again because it increases soil activity for insects and arachnids and in-turn provides food for larger native mammals.

Any timber, dead or alive, is also important for fungi—a food source for many animals, particularly bandicoots and potoroos which have been so heavily impacted by the fires.

Doug said, “Ecosystems are incredibly resilient but their recovery will take years. 

“Every action that landholders can take to help with this recovery is important, and is a vital part of our ongoing stewardship of natural areas.”

About 46 properties with conservation covenants (which protect a property forever, even after it changes hands) have been impacted by fires in East Gippsland and north east Victoria.

Trust for Nature will work with the landholders as they restore habitat over the following months and years.

It is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of supporters to help protect Victoria’s biodiversity. Trust for Nature has set up a Bushfire Habitat Recovery Fund to help landholders who have conservation covenants impacted by fires.

Main photo: Max James on his Wangarabell property which has a conservation covenant