Important vegetation is just outside your window (car window that is!)
Simone Horn, Land Services Officer
As well as being nice to look at during your daily commute or your weekend trip, remnant vegetation on rural roadside reserves is incredibly important to local biodiversity and production.
- roadside reserves are important corridors and harbours for locally and regionally significant vegetation
- the management of weeds, grazing stock, roadworks, and other impacts are important to protecting our roadside vegetation
- roadside vegetation is protected and there are some simple things we can avoid doing in order to preserve it
- new assessment methods are helping to get a better understanding of roadside vegetation communities.
Remnant vegetation in our roadside reserves may be locally or regionally significant. It may contain rare or threatened plant species and often provides habitat and essential connections for flora and fauna across the landscape – and these values are even more important after the loss of so much native vegetation during the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-2020. Some roadside reserves may be offering vital linkages for wildlife where other corridors were lost or damaged by the bushfires.
Remnant roadside vegetation provides examples of native plant communities that may be absent from adjoining cleared private land providing a valuable genetic resource and seed bank for seed collection (with appropriate seed collection permits), to help propagate local plants for revegetation projects. Healthy stands of roadside remnant vegetation benefit adjoining farming land by providing shelter and shade for livestock and wind protection for pastures and crops.
You may not have considered all the passive benefits offered by roadside vegetation before, so the next time you’re staring out the window during a road trip, try to take a little more notice of the amazing biodiversity around you because it’s important for everyone to value and look after these areas.
Roadside vegetation is protected. Here are some unfortunately common behaviours that are harmful to roadside reserves.
- collect firewood, gravel or rocks from roadside
- collect native seeds from roadsides without the permission of the landholder (e.g. local Council, Local Land Services)
- cut down or damage trees on roadside reserves
- dump rubbish or green waste
- risk the spread of weeds by driving on areas that aren’t designated vehicle layby areas.
In the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council area, Council was involved in a pilot project to better map and protect environmentally sensitive roadsides, using a Rapid Assessment Method (RAM) developed by Local Government NSW and Local Land Services.
With knowledge gained from the RAM, using drones and ground-truthing, low, medium and high conservation value areas were identified, which will allow for better planning and management of high and medium conservation roadsides.
The management of weeds, grazing stock, roadworks, and other impacts are important to protecting our roadside vegetation.
If you see someone littering from their vehicle, you can report them online using the NSW EPA’s ‘Report a tosser with Report to EPA’ form - and fines of $250 or more can be issued as a result of your report.
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