How does the Australian bush recover after fire?
A number of catastrophic wildfires are burning across Australia and it has been estimated that over 18.6 million hectares of bushland has been burnt. This is a devastating loss to our native flora and fauna however there is hope for the future of our landscape as many native trees are now prime for regeneration.
For over 50,000 years the Australian indigenous community have used fire to manage the land by helping regenerate native trees and grasses and by reducing scrub (or fuel) to prevent future uncontrollable wildfires. Fire is particularly beneficial for the regeneration of our native trees (including over 700 species of Eucalyptus) that rely on seed. As the flames burn through the outer layer of the seedpods a plethora of seeds are released, ready to establish themselves following the next rain. In addition to this, a number of Australian plants and trees hold thick bark covering which offers protection and allows regrowth after fire.
Xanthorrhoea (grass tree) is often one of the first species to reshoot, in fact the stem loves fire and grows very quickly after fire. Belinda's close friend Sha-mayne has lots of them on her property and said that stems were growing 1-2m in a matter of days after the recent fires in St Albans.
Banksia is another tree that regenerates quick after fire - its seed pods burst open in fire releasing seeds to establish new life.
The recent rainfall provides hope for the Australian landscape as our native trees will now begin to regenerate with a variety of grasses and eucalyptus seeing new life.