I'm sure you will find your involvement with NSF very rewarding.
Your block of land looks fantastic and your plans for its future sound interesting. You have purchased a blank canvas upon which you can create art.
It will be fascinating to follow your progress.
The reason I bought it was to create some canal systems and forest.
Please tell us what your inspiration was to create the planned canal systems.
What are your long term goals and land use targets
What do you hope to achieve from the canals
Tree planters work very well and there is a huge number of different designs. Although for large scale plantings such as what you will be undertaking it is not the only way, remember that nature itself will plant 95% of your forest if you do things correctly; you need only to start the natural sequence or take away the impediments to the natural sequence, such as livestock.
Your question about lowering or raising the water table is not one that could be answered correctly without a full investigation of your site by a very competent land care specialist.
Remember that planting a forest will lower your water table and this is very healthy if it is caused by the forest alone.
It would depend very much upon your local catchment conditions and your placement within it, including the interaction of your water with your immediate neighbors.
It would not surprise me at all if even after a thorough investigation of all known factors the exact opposite of what you expect to result from the building of your canals is what you observe.
My main advice is that you proceed with caution.
You should undertake trials on a small scale to test the response of your land to the changes you are planning.
At all times expect the unexpected.
The result of large scale tree plantings is very well understood and I would encourage you to begin on a large scale with confidence that you will improve your land health quickly and remarkably.
The key word when planning large scale tree plantings it diversity.
This is a core NSF principle.
Forget large mono-culture plantings of single plant species.
Think instead about investigating any local remnant forest areas to find which species of plants are existing in the natural landscape and plant a mix of these trees.
Remember to include shrubs and other smaller less noticeable varieties in your mix.
You will have great success from seed collecting and direct seeding of these seeds using a normal farm seeding machine used by farmers to crop cerials in your area. Best results are from scattering the seed into the fertiliser which is used as a carrier of the seeds due to the extremely small size of most native seed types.
Seed collecting is fun and easy.
Just ask your local land care officer for advice.
You will find that once you exclude grazing stock from your land that it will revert to forest very quickly without you planting a single seed or plant.
What you should target is to be a gentle guiding assistant to nature in the restoration of your land.
Let nature do the work for you. Do not try to control nature. Instead aim to assist nature in the areas that you would prefer.
In this way I mean, if you prefer a certain species of tree then scatter those seeds to give this plant a head start over your less preferred species.
This is better than going out and eradicating those less preferred species when the likelihood is that you will ultimately fail anyway and waste your valuable resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Your success will depend on your willingness to work with nature. Not on your determination to control it.
What do you hope to achieve by building canals