Storms

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Woko
Woko's picture
Storms

Huge storms here in  SA with the strongest winds I've ever seen. Coming on the top of a wet June it's meant that a number of the large, non indigenous tree species planted by the previous owners of our patch such as Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata & Tasmanian Blue Gum E. globulus have toppled as their high crowns have caught the high winds. When in flower these trees have provided abundant nectar for lorikeets & honeyeaters. That food will no longer be available in such ample supply so it'll be interesting to see the effect on the future composition of bird populations.

Ms Woko & I are planning to replace these fallen trees with species indigenous to our location but it will be some years before the replacement trees will be mature enough to provide high quality habitat. In the meantime, it's interesting to observe nature sorting out the wheat from the chaff.  

GregL
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When that happens here I get straight out with a chainsaw and mill the tree into useable timber. that way storm damage becomes a windfall. On our place the soil is shallow and trees eventually get too big for their roots so in a storm they come down,part of the natural cycle.

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi Greg. I've just returned from a walk & found that the only indigenous trees which have come down have been sheoak  Allocasuarina verticillata. Lots of damage to most species, of course. 

I use some of the fallen timber for firewood but a lot I leave for habitat. It's interesting to observe the critters that use logs & branches for homes, catching prey, sunning, protection, nesting material.

GregL
GregL's picture

It is the sort of thing that is very specific to your local conditions. For some species such as red stringybark it is quite normal for large trees to regularly comedown in storms. I have never seen a yellow box come down, even trees that have been dead for many years are well anchored in the soil. Old trees that come down are making room for new saplings to emerge and continue the cycle. Some areas on my property are very steep and inaccessible, in those areas fallen timber stays where it is. In other areas I make use of the timber which is "stealing" from the environment but as a human I have to make a choice between total conservation and making use of resources, we all have our own criteria for what is acceptable.

Woko
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I think you're right, Greg. 

As far as "stealing from the environment" is concerned I believe Homo sapiens is also a species that relies on Earth's natural resources for its existence. All the more reason to tread lightly.

Woko
Woko's picture

I've scrutinized the storm damage with a more intense scrute & have found that there are two local tree species which have suffered uprooting. As well as the Drooping She-oak Allocasuarina verticillata a number of Southern Cypress Pine Callitris preissii were also uprooted with the result that at the base of each of these trees there is a rather large hole. I'm curious about what sort of animal might exploit these holes. Any ideas?

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Hi Woko, any ground/burrowing animal may take the opportunity for a good easy start. Creatures such as bandicoots, wombats (although they tend to start from scratch I believe), native rodent types. I would also be looking out for rabbits, they will burrow anywhere, if there is food nearby. Depending on the depth of the holes, the direction they face etc., snakes are also likely to look for shelter from both cold and heat in summer. I know our Tasmanian Tiger snakes are opportunistic and regularly move into other creatures homes, occasionally actually sharing/coexisting.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Woko
Woko's picture

Thanks, Dale. You could be right about snakes using the large holes caused by toppling trees, especially if they can slither among the roots & into any deep, narrow holes that might result from roots being torn from the earth.

Over the years I've had several trees come down in storms but as yet I haven't seen rabbits burrowing in the holes. But I'll keep my eyes open.

It might be a while before bandicoots & wombats investigate the holes. I've had no bandicoot reports in the 29 years I've been here & the last wombat was seen in this area in the 1920s. Nevertheless, there's the potential for native rodents to use the holes for shelter & refuge, I suppose.

I'm fairly sure we now have populations of native bush rats but they seem to prefer working from scratch, too.

jason

Perhaps wasps, skinks, beatles and micro things may use the hole or the earth in the root cluster while the soil is soft.      

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

Yes, that's possible, too. I think I'll do some frequent observation to see what transpires. Thanks for the tips, good people. 

Shirley Hardy
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A large hole at the base of your Pine Tree? That's the work of introduced rabbits, Woko. The Pine tree across the road from my place, on the corner, has a large hole leading into the root system. A lot of the dirt has been dug away from the tree's roots. It is one of the many warrens for the introduced rabbits here. The warren's entrance (hole opening) is on the western side of the tree. Just because you haven't seen any rabbits doesn't mean they are not there, Woko. Rabbits are almost everywhere by now. They were at Mannum, South Australia, back in 1994, so they're bound to be down your way too. Just look for rabbit pellets when you go walking on your property.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Nine months on from the Great Storms of 2016 & I've seen my first creature using a hole at the base of a fallen tree: an Eastern Striped Skink scurrying to security. Nice!

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