We have been getting into our sites to assess recovery after the 2019-20 fires (this has often required the 4WD winch and a chainsaw to clear the way in). Superficially, plants appear to be recovering, as in the following image of the main track into Gibratar Range National Park.
This is hardly surprising – the Australian vegetation has been adapting to fire over millions of years. What it may be having problems adapting to, though, is increasing fire frequency. In Gibraltar Range National Park there are areas that haven’t been burnt for over 50 years but this last fire season saw that change.
Some of these long-unburnt areas adjoin patches of rainforest that have been protected by these buffer zones but even rainforests suffered in the recent fires. They also suffered in the preceding drought with many species within rainforest patches hit particularly hard, such as these walking stick palms, below.
A closer look shows some plants recovering by resprouting, like the eucalypts, and others recovering through seedling germination, like the Gibraltar Range Waratah seedlings below.
Other species show no signs of recovery yet, like Conospermum burgessiorum. We found this single adult (below) but no resprouts and no seedlings where we know there were many plants before the fire. Perhaps it is a species that will germinate in spring?
What I will be particularly interested to see is how the pollinators recover!