Latest news

Book review

The Biggest Estate on Earth — How Aborigines Made Australia. Bill Gammage 2011 Allen & Unwin, 384 pages Fire management in Victoria appears to be ruled by a science of idiocy. Burning of the land is focused on reaching senseless area-targets with little regard to effects on ecology or even on reducing further fires. With all our science, technology and civilized ways, it seems that overall we are still a long way from appropriately… Read more »

Ground vegetation biodiversity monitoring protocols

How to prepare a species accumulation curve. Extract from Patricia Roberts-Pichette and Lynn Gillespie, 1999. When developing a methodology to undertake research in plant communities it can often be difficult to determine how many quadrats are needed to best sample the subject area. A species accumulation curve can be prepared specific to your sample community and is a useful tool to help determine the number of quadrats needed for your monitoring project. To develop a species accumulation… Read more »

Book reviews

Mosses of dry forests in South Eastern Australia  Cassia Read and Bernard Slattery North Warrandyte Osborne Peninsula Landcare  A HANDY pocket-sized book originally intended as a field guide for the mosses of the Castlemaine area, but it is much more than that.  It contains a wealth of information about a little known area of the plant kingdom.  A comprehensive alphabetical list of the mosses is enhanced… Read more »

Flowers of Falls Creek

Madeline Brenker and Karen McGregor  Warm weather and clear skies in January provided an excellent opportunity to explore and photograph some of Victoria’s spectacular alpine flora and fauna. Wildflower meadows filled with golden-yellow daisies and pink triggerplants were a sight to behold. Here is a selection of images from a weekend of gentle hikes. Read more »

Breathe easy

Low-allergy gardening with indigenous plants. Dr Philip Taylor has researched and published several papers on allergenic pollens. He offers us this thought-provoking argument for greater use of indigenous plants in our garden HAYFEVER symptoms include a runny nose and itchy eyes, and this is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions, affecting 18% of the population in Melbourne. Allergic asthma affects 10% of the population, and is experienced as wheezing, coughing… Read more »

Annual general meeting

1 November, 2:30pm-4.30pm at Balwyn Library  All IFFA members are invited to attend and guests are welcome too.  Please consider nominating for a position on the committee.  Nominations need to go to the Secretary. Nomination form: http: //  Hot topic A short seminar on fire in urban bushland  Fire is an ecological process essential to the health… Read more »

President’s letter

Do sugar flowers belong on the cover of Indigenotes?  I THINK SO. Committee member Karen McGregor’s creations illustrate how the flora and fauna around us inspires humanity’s artistic response and how our art, in turn, deepens our engagement with nature.  During a trip to Turkey and Europe in 2008 I was entranced by depictions of flora through many layers of history. Flora and fauna flourished… Read more »

Marsupial masterpieces Turning weeds into wildflowers

The biggest limiting factor in grassland restoration is the availability of seed. The second is the lack of community engagement and understanding in grassland ecosystems. The Marsupial Masterpieces project running at the Iramoo Wildflower Grassland Reserve in St Albans is trying to solve both of these problems by bringing ephemeral art into the fold.  Since 2007, the Friends of Iramoo led by Rick van Keulen have been experimenting using corrugated… Read more »

IFFA speed planning

At the IFFA Annual General Meeting in November 2015 we discussed ideas for IFFA’ s future in an informal ‘speed planning’ session. Plenty of good suggestions were made for follow-up by the Committee How can IFFA best make an impact (advocate) on conservation issues?  Methods  Build membership  Social media (Spend $ on enhanced features)  Indigenotes  Forums  Meet with government (all levels)  Website … Read more »

Autumn in the propagating shed

Naomie Sunner sketches a new season in the nursery. AUTUMN is my favourite time of year. A walk in local bushland reveals fresh growth on shrubs withered by summer, green shoots emerging from summer-dormant lilies, and seedlings germinating in the freshly hydrated soils. And, as most of my favourite wildflowers can be grown in autumn, it is also my favourite propagation season.  While Australia is well known for its… Read more »

Salty goodness

A salt lick used by kangaroos. Is this the first recorded observation in Victoria? Do other macropods make use of the site? Should provision of salt blocks be a factor in conservation planning? Tanya Loos explores unfamiliar paths.  I AM A BIT of a stay-at-home naturalist, padding up and down the same worn bush tracks in about a 30km radius of Daylesford, Victoria, with a lovely bush area called… Read more »

The secret world of non-vascular plants

Mosses are critical for the entire ecosystem, reports Karen McGregor  HAVE you ever wondered what goes on beneath your feet while walking in a rainforest? Or considered how miniature plants such as mosses impact your life? Then the IFFA Moss, Liverwort and Lichen excursion was for you! On a lovely early spring day in September, 25 people joined Mary Gibson on a walk and talk in the Rainforest Gallery, just… Read more »

IFFA excursion: Bush Stone-curlew captive breeding sites tour

Enjoy a tour of a Bush Stone-curlew captive breeding area to see these unique birds, visit protected sites and explore a Box Ironbark forest restoration project guided by Judy Crocker, Facilitator of the Mid-Loddon Sub-Catchment Management Group.  Meet at 73 Boyds Road, Lockwood, just south of Bendigo (approximately 1 ½ hour drive from Melbourne).  Please don’t wear bright-coloured clothes. Bring your lunch, water and snacks.  RSVP to… Read more »

Victorian Government review of clearing regulations

The Victorian government is presently implementing pre-election promises to undertake reviews of three legal cornerstones of protection of indigenous flora and fauna: The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 The Biodiversity Strategy mandated by the same Act The planning controls over removal of native vegetation The effectiveness of these legal instruments has a big impact on the security of Victoria’s biodiversity. There will be community consultation on the… Read more »

Faunal fire refuges

Large bushfires, such as those that occurred in Victoria in February 2009, are a feature of Australian forests. As well as threatening human life and property, they have profound impacts on native animals and plants. Yet even within these large fires, unburnt or less severely burnt patches remain. These patches have the potential to act as refuges for biota, acting as sites in which animals and plants may be able to… Read more »

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