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The Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park (FRNP) are seeking early photos of vegetation in this park which clearly show the density of obvious plants such as Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria) and banksias from identifiable locations. We will then try to relocate the same view to obtain a sequence of images over time to help determine the effect of fire on particular species.

Historical photos show impact of fires in the Park


An example is shown of Royal Hakeas along the No Tree Hill walk trail. The first photo (left) was taken in the 1980s prior to a wildfire started by lightning in 1989. The second photo (right), taken of the same scene in 2019, shows a considerable decline in density of Royal Hakea. This is attributed to an intervening prescribed burn in 2003, which meant that the hakeas were only 14 years old when they were burnt again, without an adequate seed bank for full recovery.


The FRNP is recognised as having a high conservation value and the Friends are concerned that the frequency of prescribed burns and escapes are causing short fire-return intervals. The most recent occurred in June 2019 when a burn for “bushfire risk management, biodiversity management” in the wilderness area escaped and burnt the Thumb Peak range, resulting in a fire interval of only 21 years. The impact on the Threatened Ecological Communities and Threatened species that occur there is currently unknown.
Most of the vegetation in the park is now less than 30 years old (see map overleaf). Although the park’s management plan specifically refers to the establishment of a Research and Monitoring Group to inform fire management, the executives of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) are against its formation. The Friends are pleased however, that following a workshop initiated by the Friends, the DBCA have funded $35,876 for their research scientists to develop a model for defining ecologically acceptable fire-return intervals for 18 susceptible plant species in the South Coast region.

 

The Friends are also pursuing their intent of providing a travel scholarship to post-graduate student to study the population ecology of Royal Hakea in the park.
If you have any photos, preferably pre-2000 of iconic plants in the FRNP with known location and approximate date of capture, please email them at low resolution to admin@fitzgeraldfriends.org.au or post prints/ transparencies to:

 

FRNP Photos

Friends of the FRNP

PO Box 199

Ravensthorpe 6346

Please provide your return address as these will be scanned and sent back to you.

Members walk

Members walk

Royal Hakea

Royal Hakea

Jewel beetle

Jewel beetle

Members walk

Members walk

Local tree frog

Local tree frog

Members enjoying a break.

Members enjoying a break.

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