Thin dry hilltop soils support short tough plants on Mt Poole, Outback New South Wales, Australia
Location: steep rocky roughly conical hilltop of ironstone below a cap of hard silcrete
in Outback northwest NSW (Channel Country) , about 20km north west of Milparinka,
Values for these dry hilltop soils :
– Native chenopod habitat – short, tolerates salty soils, low rainfall and exposure. These are mainly flowers of the Sclerolaena genus and Saltbushes (Atriplex) , and including a now endangered shrub the Xerothamnella parvifolia
– tourist attraction – for this hill top for
1 the explorer Sturt’s cairn on the ‘Red Hill’
2 remnants of indigenous stone tool craft from the silcrete outcrops,
3 and the aesthetics of the views over the gibber plains.
– Grazing – this hill is part of a large sheep grazing station based on the native chenopod vegetation, including the Xerothamnella parvifolia
Challenges above the climatic environment for these soils
– potential for overstocking commercially or by pests like goat, rabbit or locust which erode the shallow soils more quickly than before
– potential damage by the addition of many tourists feet over the soil also loosening grains for erosion by wind.
Management for these thin arid soils:
– Heat in the day and cold at night, wind, dryness for months, and occasional downpours, all contribute to ongoing natural processes of weathering and erosion. These have created the shallow rocky soils, which blooms whenever the conditions are right with wildflowers. – Sustainable grazing aims to reduce the pests’ effects and have the right stocking for the available feed
– Protections in the management plan for theXerothamnella parvifolia by fencing off Mt Poole from commercial and pest grazing and managing tourist impacts on it will also benefit the soil stability of soils and reduce their erosion on Mt Poole.
See more about
-the geology that created Mt Poole’s soils in Bob and Nancy’s Geological Tour website for Milparinka
– the endangered plant Xerothamnella parvifolia on its NSW threatened species page and its management plan
– and other Outback Soils Selfies with large River Red Gums at Callalloo Creek in NSW or with sparse vegetation of Simpsons Desert, adjacent to Cooper Creek in South Australia at Innamincka
Credits: Jeanie Clark, of Warracknabeal, gives permission for her photos and information to be used under a (cc) license 2015
Editing and page created by Jeanie Clark, enviroed4all®, Warracknabeal, for use in education under a (cc) licence 2015
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page set up 30 December 2015