Dear AABR members and supporters,

We all grieve with those who have lost loved ones, homes, property, livelihoods and income in the terrible fires this spring and summer – as well as for the unprecedented impact of these fires upon our ecosystems. Fauna have been particularly affected. This extensive ‘hit’ to native ecosystems comes at a time when our native ecosystems can least afford it, when they are already imperilled by human impacts including ongoing global warming (see Threatened Species Recovery Hub)

But there is hope. Communities are pulling together and mobilising to lend a hand to their fellow Australians and to wildlife. AABR is thankful for the rapid response of our partner restoration and conservation NGOs who are contributing their specialist expertise. 

We are joining the mobilisation through offering our specialist knowledge and experience in assisting the regeneration of damaged habitats.

Many of our members are trained and experienced bush regenerators aware of the capacity and limits of natural recovery from both natural disturbances and human induced impacts. We know that the burnt habitats will recover from the fires except where already compromised, particularly by weed, and we have direct experience of facilitating a successful post fire weed response in the 1994 fires in Lane Cove National Park.

We are therefore spreading the word about potential for regeneration and cautioning against well-intentioned efforts to rush in and plant burnt habitats (if planting turns out to be needed in some special cases it should be advised by threatened species experts). Instead we are campaigning for a focus on allowing sites to regenerate and for sites where there is a need (and an opportunity) to remove weed that could worsen if not treated and which would prevent recovery of native habitats.

To put actions behind our words we are also aiming to disseminate information and to link willing bush regenerators with land managers who do not already have the expertise to optimise recovery of weed-affected sites that have burnt.

We are asking for your help.

We are calling on AABR members and supporters (including councils, businesses and other organisational members) to consider whether they might be able to contribute some time to the volunteer effort over the next 6-12 months. There are many ways you can help. We welcome unskilled volunteers – the backbone of the emergency response – but we are particularly seeking people who can give of their expertise to inform under-supported land managers and private landholders in high priority fire-affected areas about post-fire weeding so that they can better secure recovery of faunal habitats.

When we have a database of volunteers we can then match volunteers to those in need. Only suitably trained and experienced bush regenerators will be matched to managers asking for technical knowhow – but unskilled workers are also much needed. Once we have matched the volunteer to the recipient we will leave the parties to make their own arrangements.

We will be prioritising sites whose managers have a capacity to provide the logistic support to the volunteers. In some cases these may be individual landholders while in others it may be organisations with whom AABR is collaborating (be it a local government, a state agency or an NRM group).

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR WORKING TOGETHER OT HELP THE BUSH RECOVER!

(Dr) Tein McDonald AM- President AABR

P.S. If you have other ideas for how AABR might support recovery efforts please email bushfire-recovery@aabr.org.au

How to help logo

HOW TO VOLUNTEER YOUR HELP

You can volunteer your time and talent

We are looking for help with a range of activities. We are particularly seeking experienced bush regenerators who can give of their expertise to inform under-supported land managers and private landholders in high priority fire-affected areas about post-fire weeding so that they can better secure recovery of faunal habitats.

You can donate to AABR’s wildfire habitat regeneration fund

AABR donate image

The post-fire wildlife habitat regeneration funds will go towards:

  • Preparing and disseminating information on post-fire regeneration of weedy habitats
  • Networking with partner organisations
  • Identifying priority sites for assistance to be delivered
  • Seeking volunteers to offer technical guidance on bush regeneration post fire
  • Reporting in our newsletter on the outcomes of the project.

HOW TO REGISTER TO RECEIVE HELP

Whether you are a public land management body, a landcare group or private landowner needing technical information on post-fire weeding  –  please feel free to register your interest here

We will prioritise higher conservation value sites, in keeping with the priorities of the national response –  but are keen to also hear about others in case we can help.  Also we will be able to respond quicker where you can provide logistical, materials and coordination support for your projects – but  please contact us even if you don’t have these resources as we will pass your information (and the contact details of any of our volunteers willing to help you) to a third party who can provide logistic support. 

RESOURCES

Articles

Pulling out weeds is the best thing you can do to help nature recover from the fires. (D Driscoll ,The Conversation 28/1/20 )

Giving bushland a chance to recover after wildfires,(AABR News 143, Feb 2020)

EMR feature: Community volunteers mobilise to help Lane Cove NP recover after wildfire (Reidy et al 2005)

Flyers

Do you even need to plant?

Reading the resilience of your site

Web resources

LINKS TO OTHER GROUPS WORKING ON THE FIRE RESPONSE