Forest Rejuvenation

Climate change appears to be a reality. In our drying climate the danger of bushfires seems to have increased not only in number but also in severity.  Yarloop was a little town devastated by bushfires in the Western Australian South West region a year ago.

Prescribed burning in the cooler winter months are conducted for the safety of people, the environment and animals. Burning reduces the amount of ground vegetation to decrease risk of bushfires that could cause greater damage later in the season. There is evidence that prescribed burning also helps to maintain biodiversity and assists with vegetation management. Fire may be important to the regeneration and rejuvenation of our bushland and forests.

I came across some prescribed burning in the Great Southern Karri Forests this winter and captured some images on my iPhone to create this little soundscape story of forest rejuvenation.

 

 

A Gnome Among the Gum Trees

RATING: 150 Frequent Bio Points *

Quinninup Eco Tourist Park

Great Southern Forests of Western Australia

Another Winter and yet another retreat to the great Karri forests of the South of WA. On the way out of a forest walk we came across two kangaroos that led us to an unexpected and dazzling display of hundreds of gnomes.

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The gnomes were displayed in many different settings…..

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…..and represented various local communities, families and towns….

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…and nationalties.

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A showcase of gnomes!

  • Not necessarily a natural setting, but at least it is in a natural environment and hopefully attracts people to visit the forests! 

Bibbulmun Track

Rating:  2000 Frequent Bio Points*

South West__0605The Bibbulmun Track is  world famous. It is a  long distance walk trail (one of the longest in the world), stretching 1000km from  the Perth Hills all the way down to Albany on the south coast.

The track winds through the scenic South West of Western Australia.

For the more seasoned and adventurous walkers there are shelters along the trail for overnight camping.

For the more casual walker  (who may prefer to stroll for an hour or two in scenic surroundings) the track is easily accessible in many places along the way.

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The track starts in the Darling Ranges and finishes at Albany on the south coast.

It passes through many towns such as Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Donnelly River, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole and Denmark.

I spent a week or two exploring different sections of the trail starting at the picturesque Donnelly River and finishing up just past Walpole on the southern coast.

 

 

The Karri forests past Walpole were particularly pristine!

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Along the way I captured many different sounds of the forests.

I put these sounds together to create a Soundscape depicting a day in the forest from dawn to dusk. It is called Bibbulmun Cathedral and attempts to capture the spirit of the forest.

The bush walk is ever changing and at times breath taking, for example when you reach cliff-tops above the  Southern Ocean.

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Walpole

This magnificent trail winds its way through diverse areas of natural and wild beauty; from jarrah forests to the giant karri and tingle trees.

 

 

You will come across a variety of flowers and trees, low-lying scrub heath lands, lakes and rivers.  There are very many mammals, reptiles and birds that thrive in these areas.

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Even just an hour or two on this track will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Highly Recommended!

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Karri Lake Trail

Rating:  300 Frequent Bio Points*

Karri Lake TrailQuinninup-48

Distance: 4 km circuit

Easy 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the Karri Lake Trail is  off Wheatley Coast Road at the northern end of Quinninup.

 

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The winter of 2016 was a decent season with constant rainfall across the region. They say that frogs are a good sign of a healthy environment (bio-indicators). Wherever I walked I could hear frogs!

On one particularly wet day I walked down to the entrance off Wheatley Coast Road where  I could hear Bonking Frogs sounding like an orchestra of banjos in the rain!

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The walk around Karri Lake is mostly very easy with beautiful and at times stunning views along the way.

Karri Lake is the water catchment area for the town and there is evidence of logging and clearing in parts of the lake.

 

Unfortunately there is  bacteria in the lake and the water is not fit for consumption. Drinking water has to be be constantly trucked in to refill the town’s reservoir tank .

It seems strange houses are allowed to be built around and very close to the lake.

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The closeness of the houses and the human manipulation of the landscape is why the walk doesn’t attract the full 500 Bio points * you would expect.

Never-the-less it is a very satisfying walk and well worth doing for the views,the fresh air and to listen to the birds, frogs and insects everywhere! This recording captures the sounds of the forest as I walk past a stream.

 

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King Karri Trail

Rating:  500 Frequent Bio Points

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King Karri Trail

Distance: 4.2 km circuit

Easy 1 -2 hour walk

The entrance to the King Karri trail is off the Wheatley Coast Road towards the South West Highway.

 

 

 

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Fallen LogNot far from the entrance I thought a fallen tree had crossed the track. It wasn’t a tree, but a massive branch from the top of one of the huge trees.

A reminder not to walk in the forests during storms (or the day after)!

 

There are two named trees along the trail; Shaggy Karri and the Hollow Butt King Karri  They are 300 to 400 years old and over 60 metres high!

Shaggy Karri

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Recently the Hollow Butt King Karri had succumbed to nature and crashed down to the forest floor. I’m very glad I wasn’t admiring it when it fell across the path.

Hollow Butt before (2015).

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Hollow Butt after! (2016)

Hollow Butt 2016

 

Overall this is a delightful and easy walk. Listen to the bird life in the ambiance of the forest air (including magpies and kookaburras).

 Time Machine: Listening to these sounds takes me right back to this place and time!

 

Quinninup

RATING: 750 Frequent Bio Points

Every year I try and escape the technologies and demands of city life by going down South for a couple of weeks. In the Great Southern Region of Western Australia I discovered the charms of an old timber town called Quinninup.

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Quinninup is a few kilometres down from the turn off to Pemberton on the South West Highway.

The little town is a hidden gem.  It  is not the place to go to find 5 star accommodation or for any resorts surrounded by sparkling spas, pools, cocktail bars and artificial plants.

 

But it is the place to go for easy, beautiful and restorative walks in our magnificent Karri forests!

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Accommodation varies from old timber cottages, caravan park and cabins as well as holiday homes with beautiful views of the Karri Lake.

 

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Meals are available from a great little country pub.

 

 

 

 THE WALKING TRAILS

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Toadstool Quinninup

There are three easy to moderate walking trails around Quinninup; The King Karri Trail;, Karri Lake Walk and the Orchid Trail.

There is also one lesser known moderate to difficult walking trail called the Ridgebark Trail.

Winter is a great time to walk the Karri forests of the South; the snakes are all asleep and the forests are vibrant with intriguing tapestries of various creepers, fungi, mosses, ferns and lichens.

However to catch the wildflowers and wild orchids then Spring is ideal. The snakes might be awake but they are rarely a problem (they slide away and hide from human footsteps). It’s a good idea to wear appropriate sturdy shoes and long pants. Dress for the weather (rain can come up quickly and unexpectedly).  Always carry water in the warmer months. Avoid walking the forests on stormy, windy or very hot days.