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Managing grassland the traditional way

Grassy headlands in the shire’s south are being managed with fire for conservation and long-term protection.

Last month, Themeda grassland at Duesburys Point, Duesburys Beach and Kianga Beach headlands were burnt. Now green shoots are showing through.

Eurobodalla Council’s natural resources supervisor Heidi Thomson said botanic evidence, including the high diversity of species and significant herbaceous component, indicated the headland communities had a long management history.

“This community is dominated by Themeda, or kangaroo grass,” Ms Thomson said.

“The extensive middens and burials throughout the area prove long-standing management by Aborigines, including regular burning to remove shrubs and allow communication, rituals, camping and hunting along the coast.”

She said Themeda grassland communities on headlands and seacliffs were recognised as endangered.

“We introduced burning to manage three headlands in 2012. Since then, we’ve undertaken flora surveys to monitor changes in species composition every summer,” Ms Thomson said.

On the northern two headlands, the surveys show a significant reduction in exotic grasses and the appearance of some native herbs and grasses that had not been evident before the burn but are typical of this grass community.

Ms Thomson said these were positive signs.

“The southern headland has only been burnt twice and is still dominated by exotic grasses. Flora surveys of the area will determine if the burns are having a positive affect and if burning should continue,” she said. 

“These are the largest examples of this type of community on Council managed land in Eurobodalla and we see the  return of traditional management technique is a positive step in the long-term protection and conservation of these grass headlands.”

Above: Themeda, or kangaroo grass, is reshooting after management burns a month ago. Themeda grassland communities on headlands are recognised as endangered, and traditional management techniques are helping to protect and conserve them.

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