Pillar Valley Coldstream monitoring Surveys
Friday, 30th June 2017
Vegetation, overall fuel hazard load and small mammal monitoring were conducted on and adjacent to the site of the Pillar Valley (Clarence Valley, Northern NSW) workshop in March, almost a year after the prescribed burn. The workshop and prescribed burn was undertaken in March 2016. A New Holland mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae), listed nationally as vulnerable, had been recorded at the site during systematic fauna surveys conducted in November 2015 as part of the Upper Coldstream project.
The New Holland mouse is an early successional specialist and are often found in high numbers after fire. Good regeneration was found to be occurring but no small mammals were recorded on the burn site. Bush rats (Rattus fuscipes) and yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) were recorded in the adjacent unburnt area. Although good rainfall had occurred just prior to the survey it may have been affected by a prolonged summer drought with high temperatures which is known to affect the breeding success of small mammals such as the New Holland mouse. Despite the extreme conditions experienced over the summer slowing the recovery for the site, a more diverse range of plant species is evident in comparison to the adjacent unburnt area, which is dominated by grasses and bracken.