What can we expect to see in the months and years after the burning of Kalimna Park?
Part of an answer can be found in a pamphlet produced by the Castlemaine Field Naturalists after the previous burning of part of the park. We produce their tentative findings here on the spring 2010 Lawson Pde burn:
‘A group of naturalists has been monitoring the effects of burns in Kalimna and elsewhere in the district. This is done by setting up 20m by 20m sample areas [called quadrats],and by making a list of the plants in the quadrats, and for some plants [usually perennial shrubs and trees] counting the actual number of individual plants. Juveniles [ie, not yet flowering, mature and senescent plants are counted separately. After a burn, the quadrats are checked to see which parts of the quadrats have been burned, and a map is made showing the burned and unburned areas.
‘Both burned and unburned areas are resurveyed from time to time to see what changes have taken place.
‘Some of the general conclusions so far are
- Plant distribution is variable. Sites that are close together often have a quite different plant composition
- Regeneration occurs in spring in burned and unburned sites
- Some species [particularly legumes, eg ‘egg and bacon’ peas] may regenerate profusely afer a burn
- There is much mortality of seedlings during summer and autumn
- In a drought year, there may be as much as 100% death of seedling shrubs and trees
- In a drought year, seedling success is much greater in unburned areas than in burned areas. This may be due in part to greater temperature extremes in the burned areas, and/or the lack of other vegetation to shelter the seedlings and protect them from predators
- Erosion is much more common in burned areas
- Multi-trunked trees with dry stumps are often burned out and fall…[this latest] burn was followed by a year with moderate rainfall, and so many seedlings have survived.’
[These notes are taken from the pamphlet A walk on the Kalimna Circuit Track, February 2013]