Road Side Vegetation
Road side vegetation is all the trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers growing along the edge of each of the Shire’s highways and by-ways. These ‘reserves’ vary dramatically from road to road or even along the same stretch of road. Some reserves are very narrow and devoid of shrub and tree cover. Others are wide and healthy with a beautiful collection of plants that has significant ecological and heritage importance.
In some heavily cleared areas, vegetation along the road represents the only remaining vegetation within that landscape. In several places around the Shire, plants found along the road side are so rare they are considered threatened, and are protected under State or Federal legislation.
In addition to its intrinsic value, road side vegetation gives shelter, shade and privacy to private property, conserves soil and water quality and has cultural or historical value. Other benefits of maintaining healthy roadside vegetation include:
- Its ability to store carbon.
- The contribution that the vegetation makes to water and soil health.
- The aesthetic and amenity value of the vegetation.
- Benefits for local weed management.
There are few healthy and beautiful road side reserves of significant ecological and heritage importance left around the Shire so it is of utmost importance to protect and conserve them.
Collecting fire wood from road sides
From autumn – spring every year there is high demand for wood to fuel stoves/heaters or fireplaces. Many people believe that fallen and standing dead timber along the road side is a convenient and ‘free’ source of this fuel.
Removing wood from the road side has long term implications for the biological diversity, soil condition and fertility of that reserve. For example, removing standing dead timber removes habitat for birds which predate on beetles which in turn predate on trees. Sustained beetle attack can lead to the death of a healthy tree community. Ultimately, collecting timber from a reserve will affect the ability of the reserve to regenerate, leading to the long term, to loss of all timber at the site.
Did you know?
That removing standing or fallen timber from the road side is prohibited under the Local Government Act 1993, s 629. To protect remaining road side vegetation, Council encourages residents to use alternate sources of fuel and not engage in this activity.
Best Practice Management of Road Side Vegetation
In 1996 Uralla Shire Council, in partnership with Armidale Dumaresq Shire Council conducted a Shire-wide survey of road side vegetation. 26 sites were identified as having High Conservation status based on species assemblage. Threats to each site were identified and a set of management practices were prescribed.
In 2006 Uralla Shire commissioned a site specific survey of the Linfield – Enmore Road Reserve to detail further the health and composition of the site. The 2006 survey found endangered species and recommended that the threatening processes were controlled and managed.
The Golden Mile
The Golden Mile will improve the biodiversity value of the vegetation reserve on the junction of Linfield-Enmore road. A recognised reserve of high conservation value due to the presence threatened species. Partnering with Landcare, and land managers, Council and infrastructure providers, the project will identify the extent of the community and aims to enhance, protect and preserve its remnants within the reserve and on adjacent land.
The project is sponsored by the Office of Environment through the Local Government and Shires Association.
- To enhance the biodiversity value and protection of the Critically Endangered Eucalyptus nova-anglica community in the road reserve.
- To control and reduce site and edge scale threats to the health and integrity of the reserve.
- Develop and implement best practice standards for management of the community on public and private land.
Activities to date
Southern New England Landcare updated the 2006 survey with a report that identifies a broader range of plants along with some site specific health issues.
Signage indicating the value of the reserve and reminding members of the public that collecting timber is a prohibited activity was installed on the approaches to the reserve.
In spring contractors will control and remove environmental weeds from the reserve, secure eroding gullies with jute mesh and planting with native grasses/shrubs. Local seed will be collected and stored for future use at the site.
Council is developing policy and guidelines for internal best practice.