How to do it: Golf!?

FOBIF’s recommended lockdown reading for this week is a short article on a Golf Course!

The article by Megan Backhouse can be found here.

It’s to do with management of native vegetation on the Royal Melbourne course: ‘The club’s Black Rock golf courses ­… contain some of Melbourne’s best remaining patches of the sand-heathland habitat that once existed on low, coastal plains everywhere from St Kilda to Frankston.’ This vegetation is carefully managed to coexist with the sport of golf.

The club’s horticulture manager Jim Moodie has to work to get golfers to see what he’s doing: not all players appreciate native vegetation. Some, in fact, don’t even see it. One player told journalist Megan Backhouse, without rancour, that ‘there aren’t any plants’ in one carefully signposted area. Clearly, the management program needs an educational component.

Among other methods used by Jim Moodie , is ‘a tight schedule of ecological burns. The fires are conducted in March and April, with each area burned no more than once every eight years to give time for plants to re-establish and to return a good seed bank to the soil.’ Each burn ‘lasts for about 20 minutes.’

‘After the fire, shrubs such as Leptospermum myrsinoides, which had become old and woody, re-shoot from the base or from seeds in the soil and take on a more wispy habit. With the height knocked back, more light is allowed in, which gives small grasses, sundews and other low-lying wildflowers a chance to thrive. The burning also stimulates the germination of seeds in the soil and helps to regenerate orchids, with some starting to flower more prolifically and, sometimes, previously unseen ones reappearing.’

A twenty minute fire! Now, that’s serious micro management, accompanied by impressive attention to detail…and over areas that are tiny compared to DELWP’s smallest burn area.

We shouldn’t forget that Royal Melbourne has lots of money, and can afford to be enlightened.

DELWP and Parks Victoria, by contrast, manage vast areas, and are cash strapped. They can plead that it’s impossible to manage public land like that . True—up to a point. Yet we should expect some level of attention to detail from them, and some level of careful organisation and informed management.

All of the above seem to have been lacking in last month’s catastrophic Maldon land grooming exercise.

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