After the fire: addressing threats to people and wildlife

Michelago Landcare - protecting people and wildlife in dealing with bushfire damaged landscapes

After the fire: addressing threats to people and wildlife

Michelago Landcare - protecting people and wildlife in dealing with bushfire damaged landscapes

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

The 2020 Orroral fire burnt through many areas along the Upper Murrumbidgee corridor, where many landholders manage their properties for conservation. The fire severely damaged extensive areas of natural bushland, with substantial tree death and a complete loss of understorey and ground cover. Without understorey an important habitat component is missing and a lack of ground cover is a risk for erosion and weed invasion. African lovegrass is of particular concern in the Michelago region and can rapidly outcompete native ground cover. To assist in recovery, strategic planting and weed control activities by landholders are needed. However, within the affected areas, trees damaged by fire pose a risk and until the area is made safe revegetation activities must be put on hold.

The solution

Unless suitably experienced, tree felling can be a dangerous activity and it often requires a professional. With support from the Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grants 2020, Michelago Landcare engaged an arborist to assess safety across priority areas for revegetation. Trees posing a threat were identified and pruned or felled to provide safe access for landcarers. It was recognised that the felled trees were still important habitat and provided other ecological functions. Therefore, all felled trees were left in situ to provide a woody debris ground layer for habitat and to help reduce erosion. Any tree that included a suitable hollow was to be re-established in a neighbouring tree, however no hollows were identified on this occasion. With the dangerous trees removed, planting of understorey species is now in full swing and targeted weed control is possible. Addressing post-bushfire threats in a recovering landscape was the first step in assisting native recovery. 

The impact

With the urgent need and desire to assist in recovery after disasters we can sometimes forget the dangers of working in devastated environments. Bushfire affected forests and woodlands are particularly dangerous, with the real risk of trees falling for long periods after the event. By bringing in a professional arborist to assess and fell dangerous trees, Michelago landcarers are now able to safely undertake activities in priority areas. Revegetation is helping to provide habitat for the remaining wildlife and giving natives a competitive advantage over weeds. Weed control is also removing weeds before they can take over and promote recovery of a native understorey. The problem trees are also providing urgent habitat on the bare ground and helping to slow rain water and reduce erosion.


The activity was only possible with financial support through the grant. Collaboration between the Landcare group, impacted landholders and arborist ensured success.

Key facts

  • 13 dangerous trees felled
  • Installation of coarse woody debris
  • Strategic revegetation of 100 shrubs
  • Ongoing weed control

Project Partners