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Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:37 pm
by duane
I don't necessarily disagree.

But you need to answer my question first:


Q: Suggest another BETTER , alternative genera to willows???

Better still, suggest a number of alternative genera and explain WHY they would be better and work as effectively as 'the worlds premier riparian primary coloniser'.

As a former forester, I am sure Ghosta you would have some excellent suggestions, which I would love to see and comment on.

The Willows Task Force have failed to do so as too have Landcare.

The present science used to advocate the removal of willows is that they take out too much water from our rivers.

This science is REDUCTIONIST and poor science in the extreme.

It focuses, like all reductionist science, on digging down to the smallest point.

Good pure, scientific investigation if its done properly looks, at the wholistic organism to see how it functions.

The science is already in on willows.

However, CSIRO have chosen to ignore all the evidence which supports willows.

The following can all be supported with scientifically validated benefits:

Willows are the worlds top riparian plants. And there is a massive amount of data to support that statement.

A few of the Willows positive effects include:

[*]modifying diurnal temperature via evapotranspiration....and absorbing radiant heat. 1 Willow is equivalent to 28 reverse cycle air conditioners
[*]reduce evaporation by shading the river
[*]reduced evapotranspiration because they are deciduous for 3-5 months
[*]prevent water losses to the system by slowing velocities, de-energising high stream flows and preventing both stream banks and instream erosion.
[*]willows replicate the role once played by reed bed wetlands and mimic and perform a similar role re-instating landscape function
[*]increased the fertility of the wetland system by capturing and storing Carbon, the leaf litter is nor toxic to native fish like some native species (red river gums)
[*]retaining sediment in the system
[*]retaining organic matter in the system
[*]refugia for fish, platypus, crustaceans etc
[*]filtering water and thereby
improving water quality
[*]acting as primary colonisers to stabilize and secure the stream bed and banks for the secondary colonisers....mainly natives inc Casuarinas etc.
[*]recycling the daily water cycle and preventing water losses from the system (the opposite to what your research shows)
[*]filtering and trapping flaoting storm debris
[*]“However, if the net overall benefit of willow removal from creeks and streams is to be properly evaluated, the various other benefits and disadvantages of removal must also be understood and included in decision making,”

The science conducted by CSIRO is POOR science because it has ignored ALL of the many positive benefits in favour of one....water loss.
Well there is water in all of the willow itself which transpires and is recovered by the daily water cycle. They take NO account of that information.

And besides a willow taken out of a living system losses that water that made up 80% of its mass and LOST it forever from the system.

If the Govt is fair dinkum about climate change and g;obal warming it has a HUGE policy CONFLICT.

Bureaucrats in Canberra are in a trap, the right hand does not know what the left is doing.

The DCCE wants to sequester carbon in plants and soil to cool the planet.

DAFF and DEHWA want to remove every willow in the system.

why not say, "Ok I dont agree or even care about your reasons for advocating willow removal, but we will go along with your program if you can come up with some viable alternatives for us to use in NSF, AND any willow removal is done in a manner that protects our catchements. And we will cooperate in any reasonable manner that will help."


Why not??

Because, of everything stated above.

BTW, maybe the bureaucrats might tell you the answers to my question above i.e.,

Q: Suggest another BETTER , alternative genera to willows???

Better still, suggest a number of alternative genera and explain WHY they would be better and work as or more effectively than 'the worlds premier riparian primary coloniser'.....willows.

You won't get an answer because they HAVE NONE.

The bureaucrats have failed in their duty of care to both the public and the environment and these faceless bureaucrats need to be held to account for failing to do their proper due diligence.

They are more than welcome to come and see what we have done. We would be always happy to speak with them.

But they can't be bothered getting out of their air conditioned offices and as such they should stand condemned.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:17 pm
by Ian James
I like what you are saying Ghosta, I would wholeheartedly support a program such as that which you are hinting at.

There is a good chance of forming a united front.....

Minus the removal of willows. Plant all you like. Add, aid and introduce, all fine with me. Sure we can find ways of assisting plants to compete with the willow.

The minute talk returns to clearing, ripping and removing waterway vegetation expect my resistance because that is plain STUPID, CRIMINAL and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE and I will not be part of it.

Lets talk compromise;

We work with the authorities in finding suitable alternatives to the willow, we work together to formulate a viable alternative management strategey, we assist in implementation of planned alternative action, including the introduction and education of NSF principals as accepted best practice landcare and they STOP REMOVING EXISTING VEGETATION.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:40 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Hi Ghosta, By the way I started out here as a Native plant enthusiast and still am but with a very open mind. I came up with a really good tree for stabilising banks and is a known rainforest plant. Also a native but guess what... it is now being condemmend as an overly aggressive environmental NATIVE weed. Pittosporum undulatum. I am sure you are aware of it. So it seems even natives will be attacked. Its the job they do that is important. Willows are not as bad as they are made out to be. I know the weeping willow is being attacked by......what is it.... a rust fungus? Or a weaval. I cant remember but that is why Hybrids may succeed better. I believe that many introduced plants could benefit the environment as long as they are suitable to the task. We already have garden plants, food plants, the difference for willows is that the community seems to want just native plants in our waterways. This is not really the important issue here. It's stabilising our waterways, retaining our waterways and restoring floodplains and systems that work.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:56 pm
by Ian James
HEAR HEAR

Ghosta has made it clear that he has no problem with the fact that the willow is not a native.

His issue seems to be primarily with it's invasive nature. He even said he would happily remove natives if they exibited the same traits as the willow.

Am I correct Ghosta?

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:00 pm
by duane
FYI it's Sawflies, Shirley, attacking the willows.

We have had this discussion earlier about other species such as the one you mentioned Shirley and even white cedars.

Both natives.

Both banned weeds in some areas.

More myopia from the nativists.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:17 pm
by duane
It's funny how many of our trained NRM have never given Mother Nature any thought or credit for the way she tries to protect this planet.

Many so called "Weeds" are seen as INVASIVE.

Think about this CAREFULLY.

If the landscape has been disrupted say by drought or by erosion. What happens?? (Read Ian Suttons posts)

Usually what happens is a plant quickly comes to the rescue....like the cavalry if you like to help secure and restore balance.Nature is a self repairing system that naturally moves towards equilibrium (Sutton).
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=836

Yes, it invades. WHY?? Because it seeks to quickly protect the damaged and sensitive area.

It's usually really nasty and often has thorns or toxins.

Nature put these there to protect the plants from being eaten whilst they are trying to stabilise the system.

Funny blackberries do this and too do willows.

Nature has a role for ALL plants.

It does not discriminate against them on the basis of race, genera or where a plant comes from.

Only we humans do that.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:29 pm
by ghosta
Ian, yes spot on about invasive natives.

Duane,I dont think you should be looking to "bureaucrats" for any sort of input, I think you are looking in the wrong place. They are better left in the air conditioned offices to do their sums or whatever they do. Better to talk to some of the Government and Semi Government authorities like Ag Depts, Landcare and CSIRO.

The most suitable species for NSF will vary according to conditions, location, climate, surrounding land use and tenure, aspect etc. Suggest you ask your local Agricultural Department or chew the fat with some of the local farmers in your area for some ideas. Or go for a walk along some of the local watercourses and have a look to see whats there, especially plants holding soil etc. You could take samples and get someone to identify the species for you.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:39 pm
by Ian James
Ghosta and others. Look at this scenario.

Low rainfall. Broad acre conventional/No till cropping system.

Post harvest, crop stubble providing minimal soil cover. Summer rainfall event.

A mass of Melons and Caltrop germinate and grow strongly over the following few days and weeks while moisture remains. Once the moisture is gone these plants do not die, they instead wilt a little and sit dormant until the next rain event, sometimes weeks or even months later.

Once another rain event occurs these plants resume extremely rapid growth and begin seeding.

Caltrop is toxic to sheep if consumed exclusive of other feed. The melon is totally unpalatable to stock.

Heavy grazing by stock will not control either plant.

These plants both display rapid and vine like growth. Shading the soil and protecting bare earth against wind erosion.

Farmers hate both plants and use chemical to kill seedlings quickly once they appear. Often a later rain event will germinate another thick stand of both plants and farmers will often begin a second chemical program soon after finishing the first in order to kill the second germination.

Conventional no till farmers desire Zero green or growing vegetation over the summer months believing that these plants reduce soil moisture that can be utilised months later when a winter crop is planted.

These plants are invasive and annoying. They hinder the farmer from carrying out his preferred farming practices. He kills them.

Ghosta, are you aware of how many invasive plants fit into your category of being fit for extermination.

It is not just a few, there are many, many ,many.... It is like the mythical hydra, cut one off and two will grow in its place.

I assume you have some landcare experience but you come across to me as being starry eyed and zealous.

I have named but two of the most difficult to manage in our farming system, there are many, many more that would sit on this list if however unlikely these two miraculously disappeared.

You and your ilk have no chance of success, yet you persevere regardless of the damage you cause. You have justified to yourself the purpose.

Can't you see the futility and the destruction and wastefulness of what you are advocating?

You plead with us for compromise to allow this futile annihilation of nature yet you remain steadfast in the righteousness of your position.

"KILL, KILL, KILL, its invasive.... we must kill it...."

Not just the willow, anything at all that fits the ticket, native or not, KILL, KILL, KILL.

Just what is it about NSF that you do agree with?

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:10 pm
by duane
talk to some of the Government and Semi Government authorities like Ag Depts, Landcare and CSIRO.


CSIRO was once a great,independent , objective, scientific organisation.

They lost their way some years ago when they pushed and peddles GM. They are still trying to regain that position.

They have been only a shadow of what they once were and today they conduct a lot of poor science such as Tanya Doody puts out.

I don't think I will be seeking advice from CSIRO.

Re your statement
Duane,I dont think you should be looking to "bureaucrats" for any sort of input, I think you are looking in the wrong place
I most certainly agree with that !!

However, last time I looked, the Dept of Agr people were bureaucrats. Has something changed here??

Landcare. Now here we might find a modicum of common sense and experience, I agree with you. But many, I hasten to add, but NOT ALL, Landcare people see only gum trees and are busily removing willows. I am not that keen to follow that line, although there are many fine people and Landcare groups across the country that we are having dialogue with. Many have visited our NSF demonstration farms.

I am sure that some could profer some relevant information to my question which BTW you haven't as yet answered.

Here it is AGAIN, in case you have forgotten:


Q: Suggest another BETTER , alternative genera to willows???

Better still, suggest a number of alternative genera and explain WHY they would be better and work as effectively as 'the worlds premier riparian primary coloniser'.


I would be very pleased if don't know the answers to the above that perhaps you could
talk to some of the Government and Semi Government authorities like Ag Depts, Landcare and CSIRO
and post their replies back here.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:14 pm
by ghosta
Dune if your not happy wih my answer thats your problem.
I have been a consitent advocate for the need for Peter Andrews work to be built apon, through experimentation and research. Open your mind up and think of the possiilities if his principles recieved broad support. Elements of NSF would be adopted widely.

You seem content with things the way the are with NSF marginalised and likely to stay that way. When I read his book I see the ideas behind what he is doing. You see only one way of doing thing...if Peter uses willows then we all must use willows no matter what. (for example). I cannot make you think outside the square, your narrow thinking seems firmly entrenched. So be it.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:07 pm
by duane
Ghosta, I am grateful for your role as a agent provocoteur. It's very important that we challenge ideas and hypotheses. But in doing so you must present your own good science to back up your statements.

In Science, everything needs to be challenged. NSF is no different and you are quite right to offer challenges.

The world of science once said the Earth was flat once and now most people agree it's round (although there are some who still insist it's flat).

I don't accept your view that my
narrow thinking seems firmly entrenched
.

I think I will leave it to others to determine who exemplifies that statement best.

P.S. I have not yet had an specific answer to the question that I posed above. You have failed to back up your statements and so your science is lacking.

I, therefore, am left with only one clear answer......you don't know.

That's fine.

There's a hell of a lot I don't know either but unlike some my mind is open and not closed.

It's a liberating thing when you OPEN your mind.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:49 am
by ghosta
Duane I m not sure why I have to continually spell it out again and again. Ill put it in the most simple terms I can.
Because of the problems with some varieties of willows seeding and spreading uncontollably I believe it is better to use alternative plants. Which plant are used will depend on local conditions. I cannot tell you which plants to use in your location.

Peter Andrews uses many plants which are readily available to him for various funtions, and acheives good results. Many of these plants are considered weeds and can have delitirious effects, but Peter and others are happy to use them as they consider the benefits outweigh the negative effects. Many farmers simply will not look at NSF for this reason alone. They may be right or wrong in their views. The point is they wont accept NSF because of the use of certain weeds.

Advocates of NSF have two options. One is to try and convince farmers that the benefits outweigh the negtive effects and if there are negative effets ignore them. If your thistles invade your neighbours property, ignore the angry farmer and smugly say "im right, hes wrong, Im doing him a favour its just he doesnt know it." And any bodies that disagree are labeled "bureaucrats" and subject to a tirade of abuse. This seems to be the path you advocate.

The other path is to say to farmers, it doesnt matter what plant you use providing it works. If you dont want to use plants with negative effects or even percieved negative effects, then use something else. He asks which plants? If you know th answer, well and good, we have another farmer looking at aspects of NSF. If you dont know there are now another two options. You can go home leaving the farmer with no answer or you can try to find out the answer. It may be beyond your resources to find the answer yourself- thats why there is a need for research.

Well farmers can do some research themselves, as many are, but there are other bodies that do agricultural research. But if you have been abusing them, they wont help. So the farmer who wants to use alternatve plants puts whatever aspect of NSF he is attracted to on the backburner.

The other advantage of research is that even better plants than the weeds originally used will most likely be discovered. Those able to think outside the square can see enormous possibilities. What if certain plants were selectively bred for their benificial properties? Or an unknown plant from the depths of the Amazon jungle is thoroughly tested and is avaialable.

Of course this will not happen overnight. But it wont happen at all if all you can say to the farmer who enquires "you must use thistles", (or willows or whatever). This is where YOU need to open your mind.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:56 am
by Shirley Henderson
Ghosta, Duane knows what he is talkng about. Take some time out to study NSF more closely.

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:59 am
by ghosta
Shirley Henderson wrote:Ghosta, you are narrow minded and keep attacking Duane although he has given you every opportunity to grasp NSF prinicples. I dont think Duane should bother with you any more. He knows what he is talkng about, it is you who do not...... and you have a very condescending manner. It seems you are nor really interested in NSF, you just like arguing for the sake of it. :evil:


If wishing to see the principles behind NSF being more broadly adopted and accepted by the farming comunity is in your opinion being "narrow minded" then so be it.
Perhaps you should read Peters Andrews book and try and grasp the principles behind what he is doing, I refuse to believe there is only one way to achieve the goals of NSF by exactly reproducing to the nth detail what Peter has done. Any other view is not welcome on these forums it seems. To me that is very narrow view of NSF, but it does explain why takeup of NSF ideas has been limited.

Yes Im wasting my time here. These forums are actully hindering development of NSF. It deserves much better.

I might come back in a few years and see if things have changed.
Meanwhile, you have convinced me to sign off for now...................

Re: The War on Willows

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:19 pm
by Jodi James
Ghosta, Don't you think that your overlooking what you have said?

Because of the problems with some varieties of willows seeding and spreading uncontollably I believe it is better to use alternative plants.

You can't treat all willows in the same catergory. Some don't reseed. If it grows then let it grow!, your missing the point here....Isn't that what NSF stands for(Natural Sequence)? Maybe you should rethink your whole debate and get back to the core problem. It's not just about the willows, it's the gravy train it gives on their removal. It all comes back to money! not about the environment. Why would you kill a perfectly healthy tree? Oh thats right, I get Paid to remove it!, I just don't understand the mentallity of some people.

If it grows and nature is letting it grow, then leave it alone. We are such destructors on this planet and look whats happening, If you left the trees there, we probably wouldn't be having all these bad floods. Too much clearing is going on for food production instead of looking at what we already have and learning how to make those paddocks produce better quality food, instead of quantity! Our nations are dying, not just from lack of food, but quality.

I'm really over all the negativity! I thought this site was for genuine people who want to learn about NSF, not people who want to pick holes in everything we do....why because it doesn't come out of a text book!....If it works then keep doing it! Stuff what the beurocrats say. Just do it...do whats in your heart, we know how to treat our environment, grow things make australia green again instad of a desert bowl.

If government had listened to Peter, I'm sure the flood destruction we have seen on the news could of been avoided!