Non-destructive revegetation at Flood Creek

Our non-destructive revegetation trial is now under way at Flood Creek. Many thanks are due to the Green Army team that came and helped, consisting of: Alex, Dylan, Tiarnah, Nicole and Chloe. Thanks Guys! The team was provided by Skillset under the auspices of the Federal Government’s Green Army programme and was locally hosted by the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council.

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Nicole, Tiarnah, Dylan, Chloe and Alex at the end of the second day’s planting.

We planted a mix of casuarinas and teatree alongside a section of Flood Creek on the Braidwood Common. These were interspersed in some areas with snowgums, yellowbox, blackwood, red-stem wattle and callistemon. All up, around 800 native trees and shrubs went in. Further plantings will follow over time.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of non-destructive revegetation, I’ll give a brief outline of the theory. The main point is that we didn’t begin this planting work by destroying any of the existing riparian habitat. Although this section of Flood Creek is currently stabilised by non-natives (mainly willows and hawthorns), we don’t see removing these plants as necessary or desirable in order to increase biodiversity and habitat value.

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A new native tree, augmenting the existing habitat and biodiversity at Flood Creek

Several native animal species already utilise the riparian corridor along Flood Creek (including swamp wallaby, wombats and platypus). Destruction of the existing vegetation would obviously cause massive ecological disturbance and probably make this area uninhabitable for decades. Moreover, removal of mature riparian trees accelerates peak flows, increasing the likelihood of downstream flooding and raising the risk of local erosion, as occurs time after time following willow destruction activities–sometimes misnamed “revegetation”. Many Australians are opposed to this form of environmental destruction, but the removal industry remains profitable due to outdated environmental funding programmes.

Continue reading

Two great landscape rehydration field days

Hi folks,

There’ll be two excellent Natural Sequence Farming and landscape rehydration field days held consecutively on Nov 7th and 8th near Bungendore, NSW. I expect every innovative Landcarer in the country will be there, or will die trying to get there, for one or both of these days.

The first (Nov 7th) is a tour to see restorative bed structures on Turallo Creek at the “the Gib”.

(Click the image below to see the full-sized flyer.)

Turallo Ck field day 7th November

The structures installed at the Gib were put in by the landholder using ordinary farm equipment and have had a great effect on what was once a dry and eroded gully. This is another example of an empowered land manager doing excellent practical work that positively benefits landscape health and farm productivity. As it turns out, existing regulatory frameworks have made this beneficial process more difficult than it should be.

These frameworks will be discussed in more detail at the second field day (Nov 8th) which will be a tour of Mulloon Creek Natural Farms. Attendees will inspect and discuss the Natural Sequence Farming rehydration works completed here nine years ago. See the beneficial effects of these structures and hear about how the Mulloon Institute, in partnership with other organisations, is now supporting the Mulloon Creek community to work together on a multi-property catchment-wide rehydration effort.

(Click the image below)

Mulloon Creek field day 8th November

Both field days will be well-attended and are bound to promote some great discussion and learning opportunities. Spread the word and be there!

 

Non-native invader spread by unnatural bird sex shock horror!

I’m sorry, this isn’t really a post about unnatural bird sex, it’s about mycology in general and truffles in particular. But, there is a non-nativist ecological link, and the bird sex provides a pertinent example. I return to this a bit later on.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a worldclass lecture on mycology right here in Braidwood as part of the inaugural “Truffle Time in the ‘Wood” festival. The presenters were Professor James Trappe, Dr Andrew Claridge and Todd Elliott. What follows is principally my recollection of the information presented by these three engaging speakers. The festival as a whole involved too many folks to mention individually in this post, but see below for a summary of participants and contributors.*

I’m not a mycologist, but I’d always thought I had a workable understanding of the ecology of fungi, they’re the decomposers of our ecosystems, right? They breakdown dead bodies and wastes and release various nutrients back into ecological circulation. Apart from the odd fruiting body, they’re hard to spot, mostly underground; very much out of sight and out of mind.

I now realise, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about fungi, and there’s a lot going on that’s worth considering. Continue reading

Awesome interview with Tao Orion, author of ‘Beyond the War on Invasive Species: a Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration’

Tao Orion is the author of new book available from Chelsea Green Publishing, titled ‘Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration‘. The book is available to order from the publisher here.

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I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to getting my own copy. I’m writing this brief post to highlight an awesome interview with Tao Orion that is available here on the Organic Consumers Association website.

In just this brief interview, Tao provides a very insightful read and I’d urge everyone with an interest in the future to have a look.

I’ve included three short excerpts here to tempt you:

The “ethical corruption” that Holmgren describes is the dangerous trend in the science of invasion and restoration ecology to narrowly focus on restoration as a practice of attempting to return certain ecosystems to an idealized former state. This concept paints invasive and novel organisms as disruptive to ecosystems, and tends to miss the bigger picture of how ecosystems have changed and are constantly changing in response to human and non-human impacts upon them. That large conservation and restoration organizations like The Nature Conservancy are allied with pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, which have essentially manufactured the war on invasive species for their own financial benefit, is something that we have to think about very closely. This approach for managing species invasions does little to restore ecological functionality, especially on a larger scale.” –Tao Orion

Invasive species don’t have special powers and aren’t inherently malignant. From an ecological perspective, they are exploiting available niches. This is one of the main reasons that eradication doesn’t work – because unless the niches are changed in ways that encourage native or other desired species to flourish, eradicating invasive species achieves no measurable ecological benefit.” –Tao Orion

When you see an invasive species, instead of automatically thinking of its ‘negative’ qualities, think about what it is doing in the ecosystem where it is found. Do pollinators use it? Is it controlling erosion? Start thinking less in terms of the organism and more in terms of the ecosystem that supports it. What has changed in recent history that may contribute to the proliferation of invasive species? Critical to this understanding is an acknowledgement of how indigenous land management shaped and structured ecosystems—including plant and animal population diversity and abundance—and that lack of this management has facilitated invasion processes even in areas considered ‘natural’ or ‘wild.’ Invasive species are directly related to changes in land management, from highly degraded to ecosystems to seemingly ‘pristine’ areas, and learning more about the cultural history of ecosystem management is critical to seeing invasion processes as a predictable outcome of the type and scale of these changes.” –Tao Orion

Read more here.

To Make a Living We Must Wreck Our Home?

Geoff Davies is a Braidwood local with a passion for the environment and a firm commitment to interrogating and reforming our economic system. Geoff has published several books and writes on his blog ‘Better Nature’. Geoff’s work incorporates ecological, social and ethical realities, which dominant economic discourse ignores to our detriment.

Here Geoff reflects on a recent ‘Australian Story’ program which dealt with the sale of Tarwyn Park to an international coal mining corporation. Tarwyn Park will be familiar to some readers of the Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group blog as the home of the Andrews family, where Peter Andrews perfected his techniques for farming in accord with the ‘Natural Sequence’ of the Australian landscape.

Better Nature: books and commentary by Geoff Davies

Coal mine amidst farmland Coal mine amidst farmland

[Published on Independent Australia 14 May]

I spend a lot of my days trawling the follies of our time. To avoid sinking into the mire of despair I need to keep a firm hold of love and hope and grandchildren. But every now and then something lands too heavily in my heart, and I can only grieve.

Tarwyn Park is the Hunter Valley property where Peter Andrews worked out how to get the water back into the ground, by reconstructing a degraded creek so it flows slowly and the water can soak across the valley. His work is revolutionising the way we live in the Australian landscape, restoring its original productivity and resilience in the face of our challenging climate. We learnt last Monday, May 4th, in the ABC’s Australian Story that Tarwyn Park has been, very reluctantly, sold so it can…

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