Thursday, 12 September 2019 18:25

Life on the Rocks

As we stub our toe on a big granite boulder and our eyes begin to water, we may not fully appreciate the attractive natural feature rocky outcrops form across our landscape. But as we dab the tears away, we should consider the value of these, often isolated, habitats.

Rocky outcrops are a common feature of upper catchment areas and play an important role in in the water cycle. Water movement across the landscape is slowed and filtered around these uneven surfaces, provided there is good vegetation cover. Water infiltrates into the landscape via cracks and crevasses soaking deep into the profile, extending into adjoining paddocks and across the property via natural spring and soaks. Often these natural soaks and springs are critically important for stock water.

Rocky areas also provide vital habitat for species that provide important environmental services, such as native bees that help with pollination.

Well managed rocky areas are often fenced off from stock and only allow occasional and intense grazing. Additionally, this provides a landholder with a well sheltered paddock during times of extreme weather or for lambing. Many outcrop sites would benefit from revegetating with a mix of native trees and shrubs. Taking care to ensure plantings are not too dense to crowd out grasses and sunny spots. Pest animals need to managed here, as with anywhere else on the property. They displace native animals and their digging can cause erosion. By leaving surface rocks, which are often collected for gardens, and fallen timber the quality of the habitat for an even richer species mix is increased.

Rocky outcrops can be a hotspot for biodiversity, serving as important refuges for a very diverse range of specialised flora and fauna that cannot exist in other parts of the landscape. Just watch your toes as you wander through!

For more information contact; Ruth Aveyard 0447 242 474 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2019 18:27

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