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Native plant distributions in NSW - climate change, bushfires and native plants

The summer of 2019 and 2020 has easily been the worst summer in living memory. 

Drought and horror bushfires,  storms and floods have led to many dead, homes destroyed, countless animals killed, and millions of hectares and their plants incinerated. Soil has been burnt to a considerable depth and in some areas the seed bank may have been destroyed.

We hope recovery will occur but there is uncertainty. Regenerating complex ecosystems will take many years. And even when the landscape does recover, the next round of drought and fires may be worse. 

The connection with climate change is indisputable – the science is settled. The natural world is a precious resource to be treated carefully and respectfully. Society's drivers of growth must become more civilised and balanced.

While each of us must do our bit to mitigate climate change, we can at least take action to monitor, measure and learn through this regeneration process.

Monitor, measure, learn

To assist:

  • We have developed a series of spreadsheets from a project that aims to document the distribution of native plants in eastern Australia, prior to the latest fires. 
  • The data has been assembled over many years from reputable and publicly available sources. 
  • The initial study area lies between Taree, Dubbo and Batemans Bay. It is split into 8 regions which together contain 50 smaller areas. 
  • Further work is now underway on southern NSW to be followed by northern NSW and the rest of the regions of NSW. There are 180 areas in the whole project.

As data which pre-date the recent fires, we hope it will provide a reference point for recovery, now or in the future. We hope it can be used to monitor, measure and learn.

For those wishing to record the recovery process, so it can be further shared, please send such reports to Tony Maxwell who will collate them. 

For any questions about the project or spreadsheets attached, please contact Tony Maxwell,

Tony Maxwell, March 2020

Regions studied - click on each one for more information

P.O. Box 263
Cremorne  Junction NSW 2090

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Membership: merleaps@bigpond.

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