A great way for anyone to monitor change in vegetation is to set up photo points. They are an easy way to identify changes that happen over time. They are especially useful for monitoring re-vegetation sites, weed invasions and after fires.The main thing you need is a camera and some basic equipment to set things up. Think carefully about what you want to photograph and what changes you might be looking for. It is a good idea to have a reference point in the photo such as a distinctive tree, post or sign. When you have decided on your sites it is a good idea to put a marker post such as a star-picket in the spot where you take the photo from. If there is room you can also put another post 5m to act as a sighting post so you know where to aim the camera each time. A GPS can be used to get the site co-ordinates in case you post gets moved.
When taking the shot take a note of how far the camera is zoomed in or out so you can repeat that setting next time. It is a good idea to try to photograph a view that is as close to normal as possible. If you use a wide-angle lens object at the edges will be distorted in size. Using a tripod helps to keep the camera at a consistent height. A great way of making sure you shots are consistent is to have a copy of previous photos of that site with you to help you frame the shot. It is best to take the follow-up photos at regular intervals depending on what your aim is it may be you want to take them once a month, once every six months or even just once a year. Below are some examples of photopoints taken at Tarra Bulga National Park.
Where to start:
Planning to get the most efficient use of your weed control resources following a busfire is vital. Here are some tips.
- Target species that are likely to remain a major problem even when your bushland and pastures have recovered. e.g. Blackberries and Ragwort. Annual weeds like milk thistles and capeweed should not be a significant issue down the track as they are shaded out and outcompeted by native vegetation growth or well managed pastures.
- The first priority for best use of your time and resources should be to maintain your areas that are free of your target species or have the lowest infestations of weeds. i.e. This should mean these areas remain easy to manage and do not become a problem area in the future.
- Working to reduce the cover of larger infestations needs to be done stratetigically. Make a plan and work away at the edges of the affected sites over time.
- Avoid ground disturbance as much as possible as this will create ideal opportunites for further weed infestations to occur.
- Consider planting problem sites like gullies and waterways with native vegetation that will eventually provide competition and outgrow the weeds. Seek advice from Landcare about funding opportunites for projects and for information on what species to grow.
- Mapping the weeds you need to control (A GPS can help with this) can help when planning your weed management as well as way to monitor your progress. You could also set up photopoints to get a visual record of how your weed management is progressing.
- Prevention is better than the cure – Monitor carefully for new outbreaks of weeds especially in places such as, stock camps, drainage lines and sites where introduced fodder has been spread.