“Landholder walk and talks” are a fabulous way to let Land for Wildlife members share their knowledge with other landholders by taking them on a walk of their property and pointing out how they manage and enhance wildlife habitat.
The assessment of our new members Ingrid and David spanned over a couple of days as their property is over 400 hectares. The first visit we took out to the property was during the drier part of the dry season, so we went back after some rain to get a more complete plant list and see the property at a different time of year. This was turned into an opportunity for all Land for Wildlife members and interested others to visit the property.
Greg Leach, Botanist was on hand to identify annual flowering plants and other vegetation for those on the walk. Landholder, Ingrid gave an insight into the hard work carried out by the landowners with weed control and fire abatement.
We walked to a beautiful view point on the property to overlook this unique landscape, it really is a stunning part of The Top End and the view at the top was worth a slightly sweaty climb and we rested for a chat under the trees.
Back at base camp we were treated to a fascinating talk by Landholder, David, about Macropods (Kangaroos and wallabies ), this was based on his lifelong studies and looked at their behaviours, biology and the species trends all over Australia and then focusing on northern Australia. It was really illustrated that in the north we are so lucky to have large amounts of landscapes fairly undisturbed that we have a large percentage of species in tact, particularly in rocky areas such as near Adelaide River.
We finished off with a feast of shared food and a Barramundi barbeque!
Below are just some of the flowering annual plants we encountered to add to the species list of the property. All of these species are very important to the food source for a large list of insects, which in turn are a food source for other animals as well as pollinators.
From Left to right, Thecanthes punicea (red), Plectranthus scuttellaroides, (purple) Centranthera cochinchinensis (pink)
From Left to right; Hibiscus meraukensis, Buchnera linearis, Cartonema spicatum
From Left to right; Mitrasacme connata , Thysanotus chinensis, Spermacoceae calliantha
Thanks so much to Greg Leach and our hosts for their hospitality and amazing conservation efforts.
A few months ago we welcomed Ingrid and David to the program who are added to the collection of Land for Wildlife properties in the Adelaide River and Robin Falls region. They have both spent their life-time as wildlife ecologists with a focus on macropods and Ingrid managed a region of National Parks in NSW. First moving to the area in 2009 they are now committed to managing the incredible landscape they reside on permanently. Ingrid could not imagine living without a vast protected area of natural bush around her, as she has got so accustomed to this through her work. They have hosted wildlife studies on their property and hope to host LFW workshops in the future and build a network of like-minded people in the area.
Below are a few words that David has written about their property:
Our 427-ha lifestyle block is on scenic Dorat Road in the Robin Falls region near the township of Adelaide River in the NT. It comprises natural tropical woodland savannah that frames our multi-building habitation at the confluence of two Wet-season creeks. These are fed from the backdrop, a sandstone escarpment. We are remote and off-grid. Our challenges are wildfire, weeds and the variability of the intensity and duration of the Wet and Dry seasons.
We cycle annually from drought to flooding rain. The severity of Dry-season drought on land management is compounded by the frequent threat of wild fire from arson, whether malevolent or misguided, or failure to contain management burns on some neighbouring properties. We have therefore strengthened our bounding fire breaks by grading and annual control of overgrowing vegetation with some strategic early Dry-season burning along the inner edges. We sacrifice a broad strip of ground-cover along our exposure to Dorat Road to reduce its attraction to arsonists. As this strategy has matured we have been able to exclude fire from most of our block and aim for a fire frequency of no more than once in five or more years. The floods of the Wet-season bring a burden of weeds, including WANS like Gamba and Mission grasses. We target Gamba and Perrenial Mission grasses across the block and remove these and other weeds from a large buffer around habitations. Our success in the latter endeavour has restored riparian vegetation and improved biodiversity in flora (mid-storey vegetation) and fauna (especially birds).
Our long-term goal is to provide wildlife-friendly habitat across our block by sustaining its natural diversity bred by a variable terrain, enhancing the diversity of ground cover and mid-storey vegetation by suppression of wildfire and weeds, and protecting wildlife from harm from hunting or adverse land uses.