Visitors passing along the Porcupine Ridge Road in recent weeks have noticed that trees on both sides of the road, both in the National Heritage Park and the Upper Loddon State Forest, are looking extremely stressed, presenting a desolate sight. The cause appears to be a plague of lerps. Such a plague usually reflects a decline in the number of woodland birds which normally feed on lerps. [SEE OUR AUGUST 16 REVISION OF THIS ASSESSMENT]
This decline is alarming from many points of view. The current condition of this bush is an indicator of the connection between biodiversity and forest health. Castlemaine Field Naturalists report that the ‘decline in bushland birds is alarming.’ Their
monthly bird counts at the Spring Gully/Fryerstown Road intersection reveal that the number of species seen, and the number in each species, have been declining for some time. The counts for 2012 are
April Scarlet Robin (1)
May Aust Raven (1)
DSE draft fire operations plans propose big burns to the south and west of this area [see our report below].