Volunteers join fight to save Namadgi’s burnt bogs | The Canberra Times

news, environment, namadgi national park, bog, black summer, bushfires

A project has begun to restore precious bogs in Namadgi National Park after important ecosystems were desecrated by the Black Summer bushfires. Researchers and volunteers have joined forces to help the bogs recover more quickly, installing shade cloth, undertaking weed control and beginning long-term monitoring. A bog is a type of wetland and peatland protected under federal conservation laws. ANU researcher Dr Ben Keaney said bogs contain sphagnum moss which can hold onto water before slowly releasing it into catchment areas, like the Cotter River. “They also keep moisture in the landscape, by keeping the moisture in the landscape – the landscape isn’t quite as flammable,” he said. After the 2019-20 bushfires, Dr Keaney and his colleague Professor Geoffrey Hope assessed the damage, focusing on the area near the Cotter River which contains large bogs. “It was absolutely shocking – the vast majority of the bogs in the ACT actually got burnt,” he said. “It was really, really, really heartbreaking.” The fire was so severe that in some rare cases it burned the hummocks out and created peat fires, which meant actual sediments had begun burning underground, Dr Keaney said. Two wet years since have provided a solid growth opportunity for the bogs, and research will now focus on the effectiveness of shade cloth as a way to encourage further recovery. The project received federal funding in mid-2021 as part of a Landcare bushfire recovery grant. Dr. Kearney’s work has extended beyond the north-east section of Namadgi and Tidbinbilla, and into Kosciuszko National Park. “The fires that we saw in 2020 were unparalleled historically. From Kosciuszko around Canberra, in Victoria and all the way up to Queensland, there was a lot of damage to wetlands,” he said. “Hopefully we can see … a greater public awareness about their importance and an appreciating of their role in the ecosystem.” The project is seeking volunteers to assist in helping the bogs recover more rapidly. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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