The Town will be partnering with the Fire Science team from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) from April to test the viability of the seed bank within Hillview Bushland.
This trial will involve the use of smoke to the soil to assess the soil seed bank. It will not involve any fire within the bushland; rather mimicking the presence of bushfire smoke.
The trial will address one of the high priority actions of the Council-endorsed Hillview Bushland Management Plan:
Investigate whether the restoration tool (controlled burn) is a viable option for the reserve. If so, develop a restoration plan which identifies the restoration goal and predicted outcomes of the tool and detailed procedures for undertaking proposed works.
Many plant species can store viable seeds in the soil profile for at least several years. Smoke can provide soil-stored seeds with germination or dormancy-breaking cues that may not be present in the absence of fire, and therefore fire can be a key process to increasing plant biodiversity.
Experimentally applying smoke to the soil provides a means to assess the soil seed bank and help predict post-fire vegetation response and, in turn, determine if fire should be used as a potential restoration tool in future.
If the results are in favour of pursuing this treatment option, then the administration will bring this to the attention of our community and determine a potential future treatment program.
For more information about smoke as a bushland restoration tool, visit the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority webpage.