Interested in digging a bit deeper into the ‘problem’ of leaf litter?
Remember: it’s the stuff which is a fire risk, and should be cleaned up…or it’s the stuff which keeps moisture in the soil, and prevents erosion…or maybe it’s both?
You might want to delve into this question by checking out The Ground Storey, a little book published by Goulburn Broken CMA. You can find it online here.
The book is directed at property owners, and has practical info on the importance of leaf litter for biodiversity–and how to manage it to reduce fire risk.
Interestingly, the book takes up the challenge put by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee:
‘Clearing of leaf litter and fallen logs, often associated with clearing and/or burning of the understorey for clearing, removes habitat for a wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates which live in the leaf litter and in the fallen logs – including reptiles, small mammals, invertebrates, for example, spiders, molluscs, millipedes, ants etc. These impacts may affect ecological functioning. Loss of the leaf litter also exposes bare soil which will be susceptible to soil erosion and drying, and hence affects the soil biota, and may make sites more vulnerable to weed invasion.’
In other words, leaf litter has a value: it should not be thoughtlessly removed. The Goulburn-Broken book carries some eloquent info on this theme.
And the fire risk? Check chapter 7 in the book.