Environmental repair activities
Bushcare is not just about weeding! The Bushcare Group engages in a wide range of environmental repair activities. We foster natural regeneration of the local bushland, plant locally sourced indigenous plant species, remove invasive weeds and their seeds, record plant and animal data and manage erosive stormwater flows. Engagement with community stakeholders is important. Environmental advocacy is another activity that the Bushcare Group engages in.
BMCC natural area managers, bushcare officers, the BMCC bush regeneration team and bush regeneration contractors also make a big contribution to site works.
Click on an image to view a selection of our bushcare activities.
Fostering natural regeneration
Encouraging and nurturing the natural regeneration of indigenous plant species and communities is very important. When protected from degrading impacts, naturally distributed indigenous plant seed will germinate and grow strongly. We also engage in assisted natural regeneration practices, by scattering the seed of local plant species in degraded areas.
Bushland that is recovering from the impacts of degrading processes often needs some ongoing help throughout the recovery process (for weeds see Plants Animals). Primary weed management work will usually requires further weed maintenance work, or “follow-up”, as large amounts of weed seed are likely to have been deposited in the soil of a degraded site. The seed will germinate under favourable conditions. Here are before and after photographs of our west Waratah Street ecological restoration area (#1) that illustrate the importance of maintenance work.
Training and equipment
- Bushcare volunteers receive introductory and ongoing training in bushcare techniques from qualified and experienced BMCC bushcare officers.
- Use of herbicide by Bushcare Group members is completely optional. Single drop applicator bottles are used for dispensing of herbicide. Spraying of herbicides is rarely undertaken and is performed by a bushcare officer only.
- All tools, gloves and other equipment are supplied by BMCC.
- BMCC and the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network regularly offer optional bushcare training courses and environmental study field days for bushcare volunteers.
In addition to the work undertaken by the Bushcare Group since 1995, BMCC natural area managers have obtained funding for the employment of bush regeneration contractors to tackle specific weeds and other problems on the site. BMCC’s own bush regeneration team also works in the area on a regular basis. Group members are most appreciative of the skills and dedication that successive BMCC bushcare officers and associated BMCC environmental and aquatic management staff have displayed when working with the Bushcare Group and managing the site.
Principles and history of bush regeneration, environmental repair and ecological restoration in Australia
The Bradley Method provides one foundation for BMCC volunteer bushcare work in the Blue Mountains. The method was developed by the Bradley sisters, Joan and Eileen, in Sydney during the 1960s and 1970s, and focuses on the management of weeds in bushland. Here are the core principles of the Bradley Method.
- Work from good bush towards the weeds.
- Try to minimise disturbance of soil, native plants and their seedlings, as weeds thrive in disturbed areas.
- The rate of weed clearance is determined by the rate of indigenous plant natural regeneration. In other words, do not clear weeds too rapidly and create large areas of bare earth. Wait for signs of natural regeneration before moving on to further areas of weed infested bushland. Where capacity for natural regeneration is exhausted, assisted natural regeneration can be tried: scatter seed by hand. Planting may be necessary.
The Bradley Method has been subsequently refined by other bush regeneration practitioners. Visit http://bushcarebluemountains.org.au/resources/ for more detail on bush regeneration techniques and principles.
See http://weedsbluemountains.org.au for specific weed treatment methods. A respected bush regeneration text of theory and practice is Restoring Natural Areas in Australia, Robin A. Buchanan, 2009, NSW Industries and Investment (Pub).
The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) has developed holistic, environmental repair project management standards and principles for degraded ecosystems. The two environmental repair practices, ecological restoration, and rehabilitation, are very relevant to Blue Mountains bushcare practice. See http://www.seraustralasia.com/
This interesting website, Australian Ecological Restoration History, presents the history of settler environmental repair in Australia. See https://ecologicalrestorationhistory.org/ As well as Joan and Eileen Bradley, some prominent pioneers of environmental repair practice and thought in Australia have been Donald Macdonald in Melbourne (1910s and 1920s), Ambrose Crawford at Alstonville on the NSW north coast (1935), Albert and Margaret Morris in Broken Hill (1930s and 1940s; see http://www.aabr.org.au/morris-broken-hill/), and Roger Good in the Australian Alps bioregion (1959).
The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators is the recognised industry body. Go to http://aabr.org.au for some interesting reading and information. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SERA) promotes the practice of ecological restoration in Australia. See https://www.seraustralasia.org/
The Albert Morris Ecological Restoration Award was inaugurated in 2017. The award recognises excellence in ecological restoration, a practice which aims to restore degraded natural areas to full ecological health and functioning.
(Australian Copyright Act 1968 applies. Text, media and all other contents of this site are subject to copyright. Many thanks to the members of South Lawson Park Bushcare Group, BMCC Bushcare Officer and Second Minutes Hours Productions for their contributions to this website. The website is managed by Peter Ardill)