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Caruana Woodland Reserve, Dingley

The Caruana Woodland Reserve is a 0.5 hectare Woodland, located on the corner of Wheatland Crescent and Caruana Drive in Dingley (Melway ref 88E2). Next to the reserve is a significant area of remnant vegetation, owned by Vic Roads, known as the Dingley Road Reserve. The Dingley Road Reserve continues the woodland community and also offers examples of a heathland and swamp scrub communities.

Flora

The ecological vegetation classes (EVC’s) presented in the Caruana Woodland Reserve are Plains Grassy Woodland (EVC55) and Plains Swampy Woodland (EVC 651). The reserve is characterised by a tree layer dominated by River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and an understorey of indigenous grasses, sedges and rushes. The soils in the reserve are silty loam and clay soils which are subject to periodic inundation and seasonal waterlogging. Before European settlement the area would have been more of a floodplain, however the natural flooding regime has been somewhat reduced with the installation of drainage points in the reserve. The River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is an impressive tree growing up to 45 metres tall, with a thick trunk, heavy twisting branches and characteristic grey bark with red patches. River Red Gums typically grow along inland rivers, dry watercourses and floodplains like those which would have existed in this area prior to European Settlement. They often occur in pure stands where the Red Gums are the only tree species present, as is the case in the Caruana Reserve. River Red Gums are the most widespread species of Eucalypt in Australia, however Red Gum Grassy Woodland communities such as this, is not well represented within the City Of Kingston. The understorey vegetation in the reserve is highly modified and dominated by grassy weed species. Indigenous understorey species include Danthonia’s, Carex’s, and Hemarthia.

Fauna

Numerous bird species have been observed in the reserve, including a variety of parrots which feed on the yellow flowers of the River Red Gums. Skinks are often seen hiding amongst the leaf litter and feeding on the many insects which also inhabit the reserve. Frogs can regularly be heard and Blue Tongue Lizards have been observed in the reserve on several occasions, and Ringtail possums have been known to frequent the reserve.