WONS: New native weed- Eucalyptus

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duane
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Post by duane » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:21 pm

Colin

Go to the website of Willy Smit. He has been doing amazing things in Borneo.

See http://www.ted.com/talks/willie_smits_r ... orest.html

And whatever you do DON'T PLANT Eucalypts en masse!!!! You will be asking for trouble except where they make up < or =1% of a biodiverse plant mix.

If it were me there's no way I would be planting Australian gum trees in Vietnam.

CJW
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Post by CJW » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:25 pm

Thanks, will check out the website mentioned. I have absolutely no intention to introduce any Gums or Oz Acacias into the already devestated environment here. That has been done by the various unis and government organisations.
Colin Westwood.

Shirley Henderson
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Canopy

Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:17 am

When learning about canopy over land I was suprised to find out that a canopy is not neccesarily trees. It could be shrubs, low ground covers or as with alpine plants just a few centimetres high. The canopy is a cover for the soil which introduces, shade, water cyles, habitat and life. No matter how small... it begins. The main thing is to cover the soil and that is why Peters NSF practises made so much sense to me in the first place. He used weeds to provide that canopy and while it has been scorned upon by many it makes good common sense. I ask that you keep that in mind when growing you sustaibale ag project and rainforest back. As Duane always says, "from little things, big things grow".
Best of luck with your work.
Shirley

duane
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Post by duane » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:48 am

You are absolutely spot on Shirley with your interpretaion and comments about Peter's methods.

Well done!!

CJW
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Location: Viet Nam

Canopy?

Post by CJW » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:32 am

In most "farming" areas here, there IS not canopy, or groundcover, or for that matter soil either! When there is mulch, this is piled up and burnt in aslow and smoky fire. But relax, I've been an organic farmer for 35 years and use Peter's methods combined with a fusion of Permaculture, Biological farming and Fukuada's ideas. I can assure you that the Vietnamese are in capable hands.
Colin Westwood.

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:25 pm

I came across this site todayhttp://www.treeproject.asn.au. They are involved in people growing seedlings at home for revegetation purposes. The site says that they grow seedlings that are local to the area. I would encourage everyone to send them an email (info@treeproject.asn.au) and lobbying them to supply non-eucalyptus species.

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:44 am

Colin, It sounds like you know what you are doing. It would be great if you would let us know about your work, what you have been up to and your successes and failures so we can all learn from it.
Shirley

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:16 pm

Shirl, I sent an email to DSE got a reply back saying the burnt areas would naturally revegatate, will let you know if and when 'Treeproject' replies. Sent an email to the 'Feds' about WONS status, didn't even get a reply. Perhaps we should all get out there and contact the 'powers that be' and see if we can make an impact?
Cheers
Col.

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:05 pm

Col, I have sent my fair share of letters about the place too. I have decided to just do the work, record, observe and learn from it and the work of others. There are many people making decisions that have no skills or experience, or the right to be making such important decisions that concern the future of our landscape. The planning is all around money, profits and how feasable it is to have a healthy landscape. Of course there are people with genuine concerns like us, they are probably in there looking after the environment in practical ways. The thing is we have to keep in the back of our minds that the profiteers, the policy makers are being paid to find achievable ways to protect the environment WHILE making a profit or ensuring profitable outcomes. The profits come first and it is clear and proven in every aspect of politics concerning the landscape. There has to be a buck in or the chance of one. That is not how I look at things. I think healthy environment, healthy food, healthy life, sustainable future. Maybe NOT with gigantic profits, NOT with millions to be made, but I believe the right choice is the one that puts us (all families) and the environment first. Jobs will follow.

duane
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Post by duane » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:02 pm

Take the eucalypt out of incendiary debate

* by Robert Darby and Nick Brown
* From: The Australian
* January 01, 2010 12:00AM




THE surge in severe bushfires over the past decade has prompted much agonised soul-searching. Last year's Victoria fires led to demands to reassess a number of established practices: the leave or stay-and-defend policy; the question of controlled burning and fuel-load reduction; and the green environmental policies that have encouraged and even mandated the planting of eucalypts in rural and semi-rural areas.

But if we really want to reduce the fire threat, perhaps we need to ask some even more basic questions. Is the eucalypt the right tree for rural dwellings, the urban fringe and semi-settled areas? Should we be planting more of them when climatic modelling predicts decreasing rainfall and more days of extreme weather conditions like those that whipped up infernos such as the Canberra firestorm of 2003 and the Kinglake-Marysville disaster? Should we consider planting less inflammable and more fire-resistant species instead?

Eucalypts are fire-adapted, lethally so, as they are full of volatile oils that vaporise in not-so-extreme heat and explode like a bomb. On top of that they drop masses of dry bark, leaves and twigs that burn just as furiously - hot enough to melt brass taps at several metres.

One lesson of history (1851, 1939, 1983 ) we seem to be taking a long time to learn is that a mature eucalypt forest is a gigantic bonfire waiting for a dry spell, a north wind and a spark. The downside of eucalypts' capacity to survive fire (or as with mountain ash their dependence on it to germinate seed) is that they also promote fires.

A few years after the Canberra firestorm we took a walk in the Blue Range, an area just west of the city and in the heart of the pine forest that supplied the fuel for the blaze of January 18, 2003. The terrain had been cleared, but the site of the former Sherwood homestead was easy to find because the trees that surrounded it were alive and green. The settlers had planted oaks and elms, and although their windward side had been scorched by the flames, they were still healthy and vigorous. The area within their perimeter was untouched: a little oasis that had been protected from the blaze by a barrier of green leaves.

It was a similar picture at Callignee, South Gippsland, where homesteads protected by oaks or elms survived February's fires. In contrast, many dwellings surrounded by bare lawns had been damaged or burnt by flying embers, while those near gums or pines had nearly all been destroyed.

Eucalypts have been implicated in the increasing incidence and severity of wildfires in Spain, where they have been extensively planted in reafforestation projects and to provide pulp for paper production. Spanish authorities point out that the native holm oak (Quercus ilex) is fire-resistant.

There are many northern hemisphere and some Australian trees that would have an equally fire-retardant effect, such as liquidambars, plane trees and poplars. Among hundreds of species of oaks, particularly those from the Mediterranean and arid regions of North America, there are several that tolerate hot, dry conditions and would thrive in many parts of southern and inland Australia. The three plantations of cork oaks on the western edge of Canberra not only survived the firestorm, but checked its advance; the stand on the northwest corner of Curtin slowed the fire and protected the homes behind, not one of which was damaged. Further up the hill, where eucalypts took over, several houses were burnt.

The ACT Department of Municipal Services notes that, unlike gum trees, "Cork oak is essentially fire resistant and the foliage results in a relatively non-flammable, low-level ground fuel".

As well as oaks, there are many trees originating in dry areas of the Middle East and southern Asia that would do the job - quinces, pistachios, pears and apricots, for example, and the ubiquitous peppercorn tree, once an inevitable feature of every rural homestead. Suitable native species include the kurrajong and several varieties of wattle and casuarina.

Non-eucalypts offer other advantages. A plantation of wet-leaf trees is more effective as a firebreak than a strip of cleared or burnt ground, since their foliage blocks flying embers. During the Canberra fire large manchurian pears in Morehead Street, Curtin, stopped flaming embers from reaching several houses.

Unlike eucalypts, whose roots release acids that limit the growth of rival plants, and whose dead leaves lie around until consumed in the next fire, leaf litter from deciduous trees rots down into compost and enriches the soil.

They also moderate air temperature and increase humidity through transpiration, keeping the ground cooler and less fire-prone, and they do not desiccate soils to the same degree as thirsty gums. As the early settlers complained, gum trees are so heat-adapted they turn the edges of their leaves to the sun and give very little shade.

Non-eucalypts may also offer advantages in terms of increased net carbon absorption. When calculating the effectiveness of a eucalypt plantation as a carbon sink, it is necessary to compare the quantity of carbon it absorbs during its years of growth with the quantity it releases when it burns - as, inevitably, it eventually will.

We don't want to give the impression that we are advocating anything like the program of the 19th-century acclimatisation societies, which sought the wholesale replacement of native ecosystems with English trees, shrubs and fauna - though it should be that recognised Aboriginal "fire-stick farming" radically transformed the botanical profile of the continent, assisting fire-loving species to become dominant. It would be absurd to clear stretches of mountain forest and replant it with oaks.

All we are suggesting is that tree-planting programs, particularly on the urban fringe and in areas where there is substantial settlement in gum forests and woodlands, consideration be given to varying the species mix by the addition of non-eucalypt varieties known for their fire-resistant properties.

Local governments should particularly encourage the planting of such species on the edge of towns and around dwellings. A belt of oaks or pistachios instead of eucalypts could mean the difference between life and death in the climatic conditions that lie ahead.

Nick Brown is a former high school geography teacher who grows trees near Trentham, Victoria. Robert Darby is a freelance writer and long-time Curtin (Canberra) resident.

CJW
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Location: Viet Nam

Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

Post by CJW » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:11 pm

Thanks for that Duane,
A very informative text. Finally had a chance to visit the new project in Nth Viet Nam which has now become a 6 ha plot, over the weekend. I am pleased to report that the small 2,300 sq metre Eucalypt plantation has no larger trunk size than 6 cm diamerer at chest height. Will not hesitate to remove and mulch the entire planting and replace it with a diverse range of plant species. The Willie Smits video is a perfect model and I have sent this link to all of the key staff involved with this project. Still no rain to speak of in this region since September and it has become increasingly obvious that no trees = no rain.

Happy New Year to all and best wishes for the future.
Colin Westwood.

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:32 pm

Balance is key to restoration of the landscape. The reserve I work on at present has been cleared in one area, about 5 acres. It was an equestrian centre for many years and the ground was hard and compacted. At some point it was rotary hoed and the process of regeneration began. There was not much at all for a while and as I have mentioned in another post, fireweed was the main groundcover. Now it is covered with grasses and shrubs and trees are popping up everywhere. The opportunistic Eucalypt is going to be dominant if left to grow. The whole area will become another Eucalypt forest.
I intend on thinning out the Eucs. I will encourage everything else. During the process, I will record everything . I have to learn by doing so I will let you know how things go in the long run. The whole reserve which is about 150 acres has plenty of Eucalyptus and won’t miss the few that I get rid of

duane
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Post by duane » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:37 am

Good onya Shirley.....remember they need only be 1% or < of the biodiverse mix. Just think how good you will feel pulling out these nasty weeds!.

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:37 am

Hello Duane, This area was so degraded as I stated so it really gives me the opportunity to experiment. Reading the guidlelines I am to abide by legally, it is quite full of gaps, in fact I am really looking forward to doing this. As I am not a farmer and I am trying to wake up the world of landcare, I love the opportunity to show what can be achieved with the least interference. I would imagine that NSF frightens many away by the mere mention of weeds. I am enjoying learning about them and seeing them in a different light thanks to Peters books. Ill let you know how it goes.
Shirley

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:45 am

Actually the guidelines and standards do suggest maintaining a balance in restoration work. As with the Pittosporum being classed as a weed, Landcarers sometimes misunderstand what is being taught. Also what is being taught and what we learn needs to be built on with our own experiences and observations. We dont have to DESTROY and CONTROL but try to maintain as much as possible a balance while assisting the land to restore itself. Where I work, the Euclaypts are opportunists as they are popping up everywhere and if they were to grow to full size it would be another Eucalypt forest. Observing another open area at the reserve where Eucalypts have already grown to 2- 3 metres or more they are not phased by insects, climate or fire. The area I speak of was also cleared in the past and is now covered with grasses native and non-native, blackberry, Bursaria, African Olive, Boxthorn and a few other shrubs and ground covers. It has been set on fire recently by local youths. I thought all the young Eucs were burnt to death but they are ALL resprouting as well as the Bursaria and Blackberry. The council sends in people to spray the Blackberry occasionally which mucks up the work I do so I wont be doing anything there but recording my observations.

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