Footage from the recent bushfires that tore across the eastern seaboard may be horrifying to watch, but witnessing the scorched landscapes left behind by even small bushfires can be even more devastating. But land that has recently been scoured by bushfires isn't just unsightly to look at; with no living plants, tree roots or vegetation left behind to bind the burned soil together, areas of scorched earth can quickly fall victim to soil erosion, especially during wet weather.

If you own land that has been badly scorched by recent bushfires, preventing soil erosion should be your number one priority, and different approaches are used for different types of land. If your damaged land is located on a slope or gradient, erosion control blankets are one of the simplest and most effective tools at your disposal. When properly installed by specialist erosion control services, erosion control blankets can bind your damaged soil and promote the swift return of plants and vegetation.

What are erosion control blankets?

Bioganics erosion control blankets are essentially large, woven fabric mats. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, ranging from natural jute to sophisticated geosynthetic polymers. Some blankets are also filled with an absorbent material such as straw, coconut coir or wood fibres. These mats are laid in shallow trenches only slightly deeper than the thickness of the blanket.

How can erosion control blankets be used to protect and revegetate damaged slopes?

After a devastating bushfire, you can be forgiven for praying for rain, but rain and water runoff is one of the chief causes of soil erosion in bushfire-hit areas. As the water runs down your slope, it carries with it large quantities of incinerated soil and ash; this can cause alarming changes in the contours of your land, and can also contaminate local freshwater and groundwater supplies

The primary purpose of an erosion control blanket is to slow down rainwater and/or water for irrigation as it runs downhill. As water runs over the blanket, part of it is absorbed into the blanket's absorbent filling, while the remaining water flows slowly across the blanket's grooved fabric surface. This significantly reduces the amount of topsoil that is carried down your slope by water runoff, one of the chief causes of land erosion on slopes damaged by bushfires.

Erosion control blankets also serve another useful purpose — the water they retain leeches slowly into the surrounding soil, gradually reintroducing moisture into soil that may have been rendered hydrophobic by the heat of the fire. The structure of the blanket itself also helps stabilise the surrounding soil.

This creates ideal conditions for the reintroduction of grasses and other plants, which can be planted on your damaged slope as soon as the soil stabilises sufficiently. The roots of these plants and the symbiotic fungi that grow alongside them help to stabilise the soil even more, allowing for large plants and trees to be planted until the damaged land is fully restored and no longer vulnerable to erosion.