Heron Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Northern Rivers of NSW, very close to the Mebbin and Border Ranges National Parks. The climate here is subtropical with warm to hot summers and cool winters. Most of our rain usually falls from mid-summer into autumn and early spring can be very dry. However, weather patterns have been more variable in recent years with regular rainfall less reliable. The years 2018 and 2019, in particular, had very dry springs and summers.
The soil types on the property range from red clays to black clays to alluvial. The red clays tend to be well drained and predominate at the top of the property. The middle sections of the propery are dominated by black clays which are very boggy when it is wet. The alluvial soils are at the bottom of the property.
The variable rainfall patterns in our area with alternating very wet and very dry periods means that a lot of vegetation can grow during the former with a lot of dried out flammable vegetation in the later. In other words, when the country dries out the fire risk can become elevated or extreme due to the sheer volume of dry vegetative material. Indeed, with a trend towards hotter and drier springs of low humidity extending into early summer in the Northern Rivers, the fire risk is becoming worse. With this in mind, although we are in a high rainfall area, our property management has to focus on this risk as wildfire is devastating. The Regenerate Australia Report states "Soil restoration also requires reducing both the loss and emission of carbon from vegetation and soils, which results from increasingly more intense and frequent wildfires, by converting these fuels into dung and soil carbon through the gut of grazing animals". This is why we have cattle on our property and have adopted a regenerative management approach.