There are four main species of tree ferns found in Tarra Bulga National Park, (along with many other fern species) The two most common you will see are Cyathea australis (Rough tree-fern) and Dicksonia antarctica (Soft tree-fern). The Soft Tree-fern is more common in the moister areas including the rainforest gullies while the Rough tree-fern is more dominant on the slopes. Once you get you eye in it is fairly simple to tell the difference between these two, the most obvious being by comparing the trunks. The Rough tree-fern has much of its trunk covered by the remains of broken off stems (Stipes) Which are rough to the touch, while the Smooth tree-fern is soft to the touch and is covered by masses of soft hairs which are actually roots. On this soft trunk other species of plants will often grow including tree and shrub seedlings, epiphytes and other ferns.
When you are putting in the effort of planting you would naturally be intending that what you plant (as well as their descendents) will persist for many years. Research and experience have shown that there are many reasons why aiming to restore the original mix of species, that would have grown on the site prior to it being cleared is the best strategy. These plants are more likely to survive in the long term as they will be well adapted to the local soil and climate. The food and shelter that they provide will suit local wildlife and the risk of introducing plants that can become serious weeds will be minimised. eg. Cootamundra Wattle. Therefore it is an important part of any revegetation project to carefully select the species you with to plant.
In our focus area it is highly likely that the original vegetation of your planting site would be one of three vegetation types. Modelling of the landscape has been done across the region and tools have been produce to enable anyone to identify the what the likely original vegetation type or Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) of any project site would have been. These tools are available online at sites such as http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/about-dse/interactive-maps or you can find this information by other means such as contacting the local Landcare Network or agencies such as the DSE. The following map shows a wide scale view of the original vegetation distribution for this area.
Once you have identified your EVC you can then download the corresponding list from the links below. These lists have been developed from local species records, to help you choose the most suitable species for re-vegetation on your site.
*Note that not all species listed are commercially available and/or not robust enough to be used in new plantings. But they have been included to provide more information about the original flora.
The original vegetation of the district varied according to a range of factors mainly to do with elevation and aspect, which is related to the amount of rainfall and exposure a location will have. Most of the vegetation was cleared in an attempt to establish agriculture but conditions especially at higher elevations proved unsuitable and the land was then either turned into both softwood or hardwood plantation forests or in some cases the land abandoned and recolonised by native vegetation. Most of the land that is still used for farming was originally classed as damp forest, it had a tree cover of Eucalyptus obliqua (Messmate), Eucalyptus viminalis (Manna Gum) and Eucalyptus radiata (Narrow leaf Peppermint). Wet Forest featuring large stands of Mt Ash and Tree Ferns dominated higher up in the catchment towards the Grand Ridge Rd. Lowland Forest (which is still very common) existed around the Traralgon South and Loy Yang area. Protected sheltered gullies contained patches of rainforest (Like the ones that still exist at Tarra Bulga National Park, which contained ancient Myrtle Beech and Sassafras trees.