This morning I have been out with the botanists. We headed to find heathland on the edges of ephemeral wet areas. There were a number of samples to collect that hadn't been collected previously from these areas. You would be forgiven for thinking there was an endless supply of new species in new locations! 
 
Many of us have asked the scientists: 
"Why do scientists collect one of everything?" and "What if it is the last of the fertile female?"
The general response is "Unless we have one we can't get the detail we need to work out which species it is." 
 
My question that follows from this is: "Do we need to know the species and what impact does the collecting process have on the land and ecosystem?" 

Fire

Fire is an important element in the Tasmanian bush. It helps it to regenerate. However, when the fire is due to a stolen vehicle being driven on to the land and deliberately set alight, and it then gets in to the fragile vegetation and soil (peat soil) that doesn't normally burn in a bushfire; what is the impact? What happens if fire comes through the same area often? Can the seeds in the ground (the seed bank) be re-established to enable regeneration in the future? Do all plants regenerate from seed?

Roads and buildings

As humans we have become reliant upon buildings and roads. How can we minimise the impact that our roads and buildings cause? Can you create a collection of ideas to help reduce our impact specific to roads and buildings?

Waterholes

There are a number of waterholes that have been dug on the land here, as well as a great number of natural drainage lines. The man-made ones are designed to be used for fighting fires. However, there is also an important community of Green and Gold Bell frogs in this area. Green and Gold Bell frogs are a threatened species. When a waterhole is inhabited by the Green and Gold Bell frog, Defence aren't allowed to take water out of it. So they need to find somewhere to make another one. So, is making another waterhole a negative impact?

Grazing

A lot of the land has been exposed to grazing at some stage. Some is still being grazed, under a lease, the farmer has cattle and sheep on the land. It is thought that most of the weed species have been spread by cattle moving through the land. There are weeds (in different quantities) almost every where. Do you know what the other impacts could be from cattle and sheep? Have a think about where the cattle get their drinking water from. Do cattle and sheep have feet that are the same as our native animals?

Phytophthora and Chytrid

Do you know what Phytophthora and Chytrid are? We have been using a fungicide on our boots and any gear used on the ground, including the vehicles. Does this help? The botanists are concerned about the Phytophthora, and the zoologists are concerned about the Chytrid. Can you find out what they affect?