The Pinnacle Nature Reserve: Ecological Needs and Proposed Responses
The Pinnacle Nature Reserve is a 138 hectare component of Canberra Nature Park. Its forest, woodland, grassy woodland and rock out-crop ecosystems and habitats are recovering from or reflect the changes caused by decades of grazing by domestic stock.
There are high conservation value areas with rich biodiversity, degraded areas dominated by introduced plants and intermediate zones with recovery potential. The reserve's declining condition and reduced potential has been caused by a reduction in resources for effective land management of Canberra Nature Park in the past 15 years.
Any volunteer-activity, any planning for the reserve's "rehabilitation" and future should be seen in relation to adjacent properties and catchment and regional contexts.
There has probably been no decline in the numbers of people who access and use the reserve for a variety of reasons over the same period.
Needs of The Reserve
- Restore the reserve's ecosystems and habitats to a state of resilient health.
- Reduce and subsequently manage infestations of and competition from weeds (non-native, introduced species).
- Reduce grazing pressures by controlling rabbit numbers and managing kangaroo numbers at the local and hinterland levels.
- Monitor recruitment and regeneration of native forbs, shrubs, grasses and trees. This to inform the need for harvesting seed, propagating and planning for future planting events, where appropriate.
- The reserve is a natural asset, an entity with the prime function of supporting its native species. Given its location, those using and managing the reserve do so with respect and sensitivity towards nature, the land and wildlife.
Proposed Responses to The Reserve's Needs [note2]
- Study the landscape with particular reference to natural and threatening processes such as fire, soil erosion, drainage patterns
- Access relevant official studies and reports
- Add this material to the Parkcare Group's records and incorporate into planning.
Quantifying our resources and monitoring change
- Establish and/or continue initial and on-going survey methods, the recording of observations, the recording and mapping of data. Member-experts and involving others from COG, ANPS, FNAC, FOG, ACTHA. Find an entomologist who would compile a list of insect, bug and other invertebrate species.
- Continue development of species lists.
- Establish or continue photographic recording at specific points at least seasonally.
- Apply relevant strategies from the Community Weed Plan.
- Build on existing weed-mapping. Be alert for and record incidences of "new" species. Be prepared to treat any such infestations as priorities.
- Eradicate the eradicable and reduce other weeds' numbers as long-term projects
- Institute an ongoing program of detailed-weeding for and in high-conservation and areas of high natural diversity.
- Be adaptable, matching weeding methods to species, seasonal variations, weather and observations for the reserve. Exchange experiences, advice and knowledge with other parkcarers and landcarers.
- Monitor effects and effectiveness of weeding efforts to inform future methods. This in addition to statistical data on location of activities and methodologies.
- Explore the possibility of management strategies to improve the ability of native grasses to out-compete exotic species
- Assess the need for re-vegetation. If planting is required devise a detailed proposal and costing for the activity based on species suitability and provenance, the logistics of planting, watering, protection from grazers, value to wildlife and volunteers, climate-change….Involve experienced propagators if this level of involvement is sought
- Become involved with GA in seed harvesting…or at least suggest this for those members who expressed that interest.
- Research the effects of fire (hazard burns) on Stringybark forest vegetation and in relation to existing agency policies and plans. Liaise with agency, NPA, Conservation Council. Develop and submit counter-proposals if required and appropriate.
Soil Erosion management
- Continue studies of localised soil erosion and develop localised and/or whole-of-landscape remediation programs.
- Encourage the PC&S rabbit control program on the Pinnacle and assist by carrying out regular surveys of active rabbit burrows
- Encourage PC&S to assess and maintain the appropriate kangaroo population on The Pinnacle and assist where possible
- Continue outreach program aiming to increase appreciation of The Pinnacle NR and understanding of nature based on the understandings: 1) The Pinnacle is a nature reserve and conservation area which also doubles as a significant recreation space for a variety of community-members. 2) Respectful multi-use is encouraged provided activities are responsive to land, soil and weather conditions and that natural materials are not disturbed, removed or abused
- Continuing the series of interpretive walks and activities. Increasing avenues of publicity both within and beyond the reserve to reach the public and "latent interest" in the community. Extend to community groups
- Develop self-guided walk brochures for each season and the means of displaying them. And/or develop illustrated signs showing localised sightings. Develop and display signs which briefly outline fotpin's activities.
- General interest, informative Newsletters with interpretations, sightings and observations as well as news of FOTPIN achievements. Emphasis on enjoyment and appreciation rather than recruitment.
- Continue and publicise "Expert" talks/walks .
- Continue and develop liaison with schools on the basis "The Pinnacle can be an out-door classroom to enhance curricular activities and hands-on learning in many disciplines".
- Encourage involvement in The Pinnacle NR from artistic, literary and cultural viewpoints.
- Archive and securely store materials relevant to the reserve's past, present and future.
- Match the above with the interests expressed by members and their capacity to participate in and enjoy the tasks they accept.
Note 1: More than a draft, this is really a work in progress and will be updated regularly as our experience and understanding grow. Your comments and suggestions are very welcome. Please email them to the webmaster.
Note2: A number of activities have commenced to address these proposed responses. Most of them are listed on the current activities page, while others are in an early stage of development.
Date of draft: 12.03.11.