NEWS FROM THE UNDERSTOREY
The Understorey Network promotes the protection of existing native vegetation and the use of local native understorey in
vegetation,through field days and workshops,growing of plants from seed and the maintenance of a plants database.
Groups and individuals are assisted with expertise sharing through a support network.
What you can do to support the network is to fence or plant understorey on your land,grow plants for yourself or others,or collect
The understorey is likely to be made up of shrubs,tree seedlings,low trees,grasses,other herbs,vines,ferns and mosses.
a hectare of natural woodland may contain 3-4 species of tree but perhaps in excess of 30 understorey species.
serious tree decline is widely publicised,while understorey species are disappearing at an even faster rate yet is often overlooked.
Understorey provides shelter for young livestock,is vital to beekeepers,improves soil fertility,makes a more pleasant
environment,attracts small song birds,assists natural pest control,providesemergency feed for stock,stabilises soil,provides a fuel
Important as the understorey is,if improperly managed it can be a nuisance and reduce rural incomes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Determine conservation values BEFORE any land clearing or construction commences on your property.
Control weeds,rabbits & other vermin.
Protect Bushland for future generations by writing a:
CONSERVATION COVENANT on the land's title.
Encourage natural regeneration.
Remove weeds manually,reduce the use of herbicides.
Fence off areas.
Plant LOCAL understorey.
Sow seeds into prepared ground on site.
Do not overburn.
Tasmanian Understorey Network, or ...GREENING AUSTRALIA
Animals of the Soil & Litter Layer
Immediately above the topsoil is a layer of organic debris from plants & animals known as liitter.
This layer is important to soil formation,and contains great numbers of tiny animals.These animals over centuries together with
dead plants have broken down and created byproducts,which in turn have created a rich humus.If soil organisms,plants and litter
are removed,nutrient recycling is interrupted,the soil structure is damaged and long term fertility is reduced.
At least 1/5rd of Australia's Native mammal species depend directly upon this layer for food and shelter.
The moist litter also provides a home and feeding space for several frog species.
Ants & Other Species
There are at least 110,000 species of native australian insects.
Many of these need native vegetation as part of their lifecycle.Any changes to native vegetation will affect the insects.Careful
choices of native plants can improve habitat for native insect species which in turn will improve the number of insect eating birds
and other animals.
Ants are important pest controllers for trees.
Some ants live entirely in the ground layer,their role is to decompose organic matter.
BUTTERFLYS & THEIR VALUABLE ROLE IN THE ECOSYSTEM
The Tasmanian Hairstreak Butterfly is most colourful,being black and bright orange.Note the butterfly illustrated on this page is
actually the Monarch.If anyone has an image of the Hairstreak I would like to display it here.
The Hairstreak has been considered rare and endangered but not officially classified as such,sightings have increased recently, but
still considered vulnerable due to loss of habitat from uncontrolled clearing of trees and the understorey.
In 1984 the last known habitat was a small pocket of remnant vegetation at Port Sorell,now subdivided.
The growth of rural subdivisions is the main reason for the species decline.
WEEDBUSTER WEEK 2000 was held from OCTOBER 8 - 15
Common weeds throughout the state , particularly along roadsides and waterways include
cumbungi,hawthorn,blackberry,gorse,crack willows,boneseed and passion vine.
An excellent guide to identifying weeds can be found at:
TASMANIAN WEED ALERT
Tasmania's Weed Alert Network established 1999 aims to increase the chances of finding newly introduced or recent;y established
Within the last 5 years small infestations of Alligator Weed,Tumble Weed,Spiny Amaranth,Kochia,Dodder,nut Grass, Oxygen
weed,Chilean Needle Grass and Three- flowered Nightshade have been found.
Other plants available on sale in Tasmania include Frosted Curls,Swamp Foxtails and Horsetails have invasive potential.
Please keep your exotics under control and in your yard.
Further Information:E-mail Cindy.Hanson@dpiwe.tas.gov.au
and go to Land and Water , then Weed Management
Although introduced in the 1920's for coastal management,ricegrass is now one of Tasmania's most troublesome aquatic weeds.
it's seeds are spread by wind and tides,plus it's roots and stem spread greatly to form meadows.
Ricegrass changes mudflats to grassy meadows destroying habitats.
Because of the accumulation of sediments,waterflow in estuaries is changed threatening the viability of the oyster aquaculture
The main strategies that are employed CONTAINMENT ...REDUCTION...ERADICATION...
The most effective thing that the community can do is to monitor coastal areas for new infestations for theRICE GRASS
TAS RICE GRASS MANAGEMENT
LANDCARE - A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT
Over the past decade - the "Decade of Landcare", we have learnt a lot and achieved much,but still problems,such as
SALINITY,ACID SOILS & WEEDS affect large areas of Australia.
Our Native Plants & Animals are under constant threat.
Water Quality is a major concern.
Waste Management & Recycling has no uniformity in it's approach, with some regions ,especially Launceston,Tasmania well
We must continue our efforts towards healthy ecosystems by building on the successes of Landcare.
A discussion paper published December 1999 with the aim of developing a national policy framework for managing natural
resources in the next 10 - 15 years A Sustainable Future For Rural Australia
Children are fascinated by frogs and these creatures are an excellent means of teaching children about the fragile nature of the
ecosystem . Many schools around the state take their classes on field trips to observe frogs in their natural habitat,and then go
back to the classroom and produce web pages such as MEANDER PRIMARY
Australia has at least 180 species of native frogs - more are still being found.
Many native frog species need trees as an important part of their habitat.
Frogs in wetlands are an important food source for waterbirds,snakes,fishes and other animals.
About 50 species are known as treefrogs.
Tadpoles are herbivores,they graze on algae while adult frogs feed mainly on insects,insect larvae & other small animals.
Frogs can be economically useful in helping to control pest insects.
Australia has over 650 native reptile speces,more than most other continents,they include goannas,skinks,dragon lizards,geckos &
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