Soil disturbance is an important part of many forest ecosystems. In this forest, many plants wouldn’t get the chance to germinate if it wasn’t for the digging, scratching and foraging carried out by animals like wombats, bandicoots, rabbits and echidnas.
In foraging for the ants and termites that are the Echidnas food, an almighty ‘mess’ often results. But this ‘mess’ promotes the germination and establishment of many different plants and can have a significant influence on the floristics and structure of a particular area. These Echidna diggings, beneath Common Cassinia (C. aculeata), will probably promote the regeneration of this ‘weedy’ species, as it just loves bare earth and disturbed ground.
In fact, the short-lived Common Cassinia can be dominant in an area for several years, but without soil disturbance, can almost completely fail to recruit in that spot; instead a new population will establish a little distance away, where soil disturbance conditions were more favourable.