Bushfires are common in Australia. The current ones on the eastern seaboard are severe, but similar ones have ravaged our landscape many times over the years since this land was occupied by white man. What we hear less about is the impact it can have on plant and animal life.
Here’s some interesting facts –
- heats the soil, cracking seed coats and triggering germination
- triggers woody seed pods held in the canopy to open, releasing seed onto a fresh and fertile ash bed
- clears thick understorey reducing competition for seedlings
- encourages new growth that provides food for many animals
- creates hollows in logs and trees that can be used by animals for nesting and shelter.
And on the flip side –
- burn and damage vegetation communities, such as rainforest that take hundreds of years to recover
- kill or injure individual plants or animals
- cause erosion and subsequent sedimentation of creeks and wetlands
- open up areas to the impacts of weed and feral animal invasion as well as human access and vandalism.
Koalas are particularly vulnerable. The koala population in NSW is already under threat. It is feared it may not recover from the effects of the current bush fires.
Jeremy , the koala rose to international fame in the fires of 2015.
The Guardian reported that he was successfully treated and released into the wild after three weeks of treatment:
Jeremy’s wounds were dressed every two days and he managed to put on 850g during his time in treatment.
“He was grumpy for the first week but after that he was a normal koala that needed to get his body condition back,” Machado said. “He’d absolutely smash his leaf every night.
“His paws and feet have recovered and the affected area has regrown. His job now is to go and eat and have babies. Finding a female is going to be the hardest part, unfortunately.”
Keep praying …