Urban Forest knowledge hub

Our Urban Forest and Natural Areas team and Implementation Working Group members have worked to create a knowledge hub on urban forest, sustainability, biodiversity, caring for our trees, flora and fauna and much more for our residents, community members and visitors to access. 

Check out our collated and curated resources below.

Planting Tips with Stephen (aka Bushy)

Our Urban Ecosystems Supervisor, Bushy, shares his tips for your home gardens and planting around the Town this planting season. 

Check out his advice for tube stock planting, garden design and weeding on our YouTube channel.

Watch Bushy's playlist

My Tree Story

What is your favourite tree around Town? How can young people get more involved in urban greening? What can we do as community members to help our street trees grow?

Our community members, residents, Aboriginal Elders, and young people share their thoughts and stories on all of this and more through our 'My Tree Story' series. Watch the videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch the My Tree Story playlist

Slime moulds for a healthy, thriving Jirdarup Bushland ecosystem

Over the cold, wet and wintry month of July 2022, the Friends of Jirdarup Bushland spotted some brightly coloured slime moulds, found in leaf litter and old logs on the Bushland floor. 

The fact that the Friends were able to “see” these tiny life forms (you would normally need to take back the old, wet log or leaf litter and place it under a microscope) is even more impressive. 

Whilst they may be tiny in form, slime moulds have an important role in a thriving ecosystem like the Town’s Jirdarup Bushland. They are the food source – during both stages of its development – for tiny invertebrates such as springtails, beetles and other insects and molluscs, which in turn becomes the food source for larger insects and small vertebrates such as lizards which help aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, and control insect and plant pests.

Slime moulds are poorly studied in many parts of the southern hemisphere but particularly here in Australia, despite the fact that we have such a large proportion of species. 

Hence, the Urban Forest team members were very lucky to have secured an interview with Karina Knight of the WA Herbarium who refers to herself as a citizen scientist but is the driving force for slime mould  in our state. 

These are some initial insights that Karina provided as a resource for us on slime moulds.

What are slime moulds? 

Slime moulds originally were thought to be a type of fungi as they have spores. They were even classified as part of the animal kingdom at one stage. Now they belong informal group known as protists,” said Karina. 

“Slime moulds are essentially organisms that live mostly in moist terrestrial habitats and produce a plasmodium that feeds on bacteria, fungi and decayed organic matter.”

“Now for the most part, slime moulds exist in microscopic form but during this plasmodial stage they coalesce to have eye-catching and spore-containing fruiting bodies that can sometimes span up to a metre.”

“In fact, one species, with the common name of dog vomit, is bright yellow and you cannot miss it.” 

What role do they play for the Jirdarup Bushland?

“Slime moulds are part of an ecosystem and play a role in the Jirdarup Bushland and anywhere else in the world where there is vegetation, as part of the web of life in this Bushland ecosystem,” explained Karina.

“Slime moulds are part of an ecosystem and play a role in the Jirdarup Bushland and anywhere else in the world where there is vegetation, as part of the web of life in this Bushland ecosystem,” explained Karina.

“They are the food source for small invertebrates in this Bushland that then become the major food source for other insects that cycle nutrients, pollinate plants, disperse seeds, maintain soil structure and fertility, control populations of other organisms, and provide a major food source for other important and more visible fauna.” 

An interesting fact that Karina shared is that slime moulds can get ‘smarter’ as they get bigger. They also can move quite fast and able speed up the journey to find food.

What can we do to preserve slime moulds in our bushland ecosystems? 

“There is still very little known about slime moulds in Australia, as there is hardly anyone truly dedicated just to collecting and documenting slime moulds,” said Karina.

“Yet there are 250 species recorded in WA out of 1000 species globally and so far two considered currently endemic to just our state, mainly found through the work of citizen scientists.”

“We probably still have a lot to learn about slime moulds, and especially in Australia as they rely on growing on vegetation and of course being an old country with endemic plant species, just here in the Jirdarup Bushland there might be some very unique slime moulds.”

“If you have some spare time and/or would like to learn more, I can recommend getting in touch with the Slime Mold Identification and Appreciation Facebook group to kick-off your learning on the basics such as where to find slime moulds in a Slime Safari event.”

“You can also head to iNaturalists online to record your observations and share your findings for discussions with scientists and other fellow naturalists around the world.”

For more information on slime moulds or to hold a 'Slime Safari' event, email Karina at wamyxophile@gmail.com.

Urban Forest Grant Stories

Take a look at some of the past projects completed in our community with the aid of the Town's Urban Forest Grants.

A quick Q&A with Caroline Raines from Perth Montessori School.

What project did you use the grant to complete?

We installed two large specimen trees at the front of the school campus facing Egham Road. The grant funded the purchase of the trees and our school community were also very generous and raised funds that paid for the costs of transport and the impressive crane lift to install them.

(Note: The school raised additional funding to secure mature transplant trees. The Urban Forest Grant funds trees up to a maximum size of 500ltr.)

What made you apply for a UF grant with the Town?

I had been aware of the Urban Forest Grants at the Town of Vic Park for a little while, but it was not entirely clear how Perth Montessori could best make use of such a grant. The school has a small urban campus and logistics such as access onto site can be very difficult. Having completed a couple of ToVP Place grants the previous year, our Place Leader, Tracy McQue, provided some useful guidance and put us in touch with the key Urban Forest people at the Town. This allowed us to plan how we could install fewer but larger trees in the available space at the school.

Are you happy with the result?

Absolutely! The transformation has been significant for the school, providing much needed shade, greening and natural cooling on campus. Previously we only had four mature trees on campus, now we have two new ones that are well on their way to becoming beautiful big specimens! It was a joy to see them planted after all the hard work to make it happen.

How did you find the process of working with the Town?

ToVP has been very supportive through the process. Having completed a few grants now, I think the key is to find the right person in the Town who has the skills or the knowledge to guide or help with answering your questions and problem solving. Our Place Leader, Tracy, has been very helpful with this process. She has extensive experience with her colleagues at ToVP, as well as detailed knowledge of our local area and our school.

Do you have any advice for others who are thinking of applying?

Plan, plan and plan some more. Try and be as detailed as you can with your budget and always include a contingency amount. Even with the best planning there are always things that arise that you didn't expect.

 

Helpful websites and resources

From identifying pests to caring for our Black Cockatoos, check out these online resources below. 

MyPestGuide - Biosecurity Resource

My Weed Watcher

Cockatubes by LandcareJS

Canopy Capture App

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