Bush Crew diaries June 2021

Published on 26 May 2021

Orchid management in bushland reserves

The Bushland Management team is into our most challenging time of year. The cooler weather and rain means that it is very busy with planting season and weed control tasks.

Although the team is responsible for the management of approximately 330 hectares of land in our community, some of the most important work is managing the smallest indigenous species that survive in our bushlands. Specifically, those species that would be almost impossible to re-establish if they were lost. This includes some of our local terrestrial orchid species. The presence of orchid species on any site is a great indicator of the health of the local ecosystem, and a gauge of the potential for the presence of other notable species lurking in the area.

Banyule has both rare and common species of orchids in our bushlands. Some orchids need specific burning regimes and some require a specific type of fungi to be present in the soil or a specific pollinator in order to reproduce. This is where the complexity lies. Orchid management can be complicated.

In our bushlands the most likely culprit for the loss of orchid species is competition from exotic species. Hand weeding around these elusive species is the best form of defence and the best way to halt the decline of these species in our reserves. It’s a bit tough on the knees but the results can be outstanding. Watching a patch of orchids expands ever outward year after year as they are given the space to grow is quite a reward.

Next time you see our team crawling around on the ground in one of our bushlands they may be hand weeding around one of these beautiful and delicate species.

If you are interested in helping with this important environmental work, consider joining one of our many environmental volunteer groups.

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