HEYTESBURY DISTRICT LANDCARE NETWORK
Lake Cobrico Drone Reseeding
On St Patrick’s Day 2018 the Heytesbury District experienced severe fires that burnt more than 40,000 Hectares of Public and Private land. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning coordinated $620,000 of rehabilitation works within the district with funding and support coming from local councils, committees of management and community groups.
HDLN's role in providing support to Impacted landowners, Government and Non-Government organizations during the recovery phase has been documented in the booklet 'Devastation to Restoration', available from the Timboon office on request.
One of the final projects in the rehabilitation program was the aerial seeding in April at Lake Cobrico, a swamp wildlife reserve near Camperdown. Due to concerns that the lake’s ecosystem might not be able to regenerate naturally after the high intensity fires, drones were used to distribute 32 kilograms of native seed over 40 hectares of the burnt lakebed. Watch our short or our 6 minute video or read more about this phase at the ABC, the drone operator and in a specialist magazine.
This is the first known use of Drones/UAV’s in aerial seeding of native vegetation species in response to Fire Recovery in a peat swamp.
The ecologists Landtech Consulting assessed the impact of the drone on revegetation/recruitment, comparing images taken from drone flights in 2020 and 2022.
Read their 3 page summary here or the full report here (both pdfs are 10-11MB).
In essence drone reseeding is a successful approach with the results -
"1. Increased indigenous vegetation cover over the recent two-year period (2020-2022); 2. Increased cover with assisted drone seeding; and 3. Increased cover with increased seed concentrations."
This information will be important in climate adaption management. It demonstrates that drones can undertake important work in fire affected peat swamps in a safe and non-intrusive way, limiting exposure to risk for staff and contractors.