Marvels of life – with a warning!

Two Wells, Lewiston and Districts Landcare Group with Mark Webb

• Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner! You don’t have to look far to see our landscapes are slowly changing as the daylight hours increase, soils become warmer and many of our native trees and shrubs are beginning to flower.

This climatic change is a trigger for wildlife to start to look for nesting sites and if you are fortunate to have a variety of native trees and shrubs within your garden, you may have some birds call your garden home for the next couple of months.

A friend of mine has a pair of swallows that return every year to build their nest under the veranda.

From their kitchen you can watch these birds build their nest, lay their eggs, raise their young and watch the chicks as they learn to fly.  

One of the great marvels of life is watching new life begin, and this is happening all around us every springtime, but how many of us take time to notice what is really happening in our own region?

Sadly many of our natural habitats for our wildlife are being eroded due to land clearing and developments, which in turn can have major impacts on the local biodiversity within our region. 

kOur backyards are like stepping stones (fragmented landscapes) throughout our region.

These stepping-stones, when connected, form wildlife corridors that enable our native fauna to travel throughout our district.

Providing the necessary resources for food, water or shelter our wildlife needs to survive will enable our native animals to expand their territories beyond your backyard.

• I believe this an ideal time of year to encourage our young people to find out what wildlife is visiting our properties.

Collecting data on wildlife that lives within our community can help support future biodiversity programs. 

On my regular travels around our district it troubles me to see so many plant species that have escaped from peoples properties.

You could say ‘well if they look good in my yard they will look good anywhere’.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

A lot of these escapees will dominate and out-compete our native plants. 

They also do not provide the food resources for our native animals, birds and butterflies, etc.

• Gazanias are one of those plants that may look good in your garden, but I have noticed this species through seed dispersal are moving into our reserves including the Aunger ponds, Lewiston wetlands etc.

When these plants become established, we will lose the essence of what I believe distinguishes our region from many other regions.

If you are aware of areas that are under threat from pest plants contact your council, as by working together we can eradicate a number of pest plants from our region. 

Pest plants are estimated to cost Australian agriculture $4.2 billion and the natural environment $2.5 billion per annum.

Health impacts are also significant with some being toxic to humans, native animals and livestock.

All South Australian landholders have legal responsibilities to manage declared plants. Declared plants are regulated under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004. They are significant weed threats to our state’s primary production industries.

As property owners it is our responsibility to manage these weed threats in our region.

• If you are unsure of what plants you may have on your property, I would recommend the website www.amlrnrm.sa.gov.au (Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board).

Here you will find a range of fact sheets providing identification and control techniques for common problem weeds.

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