Tag Archives: nativist ideology

Creek Destruction rears its Ugly Head in Braidwood– Peter Marshall’s letter to the Editor

South East Local Land Services officers recently began cutting down and piling up riparian willow trees from a section of Monkittee Creek, on private land, just outside of Braidwood township.

This is exactly the kind of behaviour that Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group was formed to protest. This second wave of environmental vandalism currently gripping our government agencies is no different to the deforestation incentives of the 1800’s. In the very near future it will be looked upon with intense shame and regret by anyone with an environmental conscience. I’ll provide a bit more background and context on this particular project in the near future. For now, here are three hasty photos to give some perspective of the destruction site, and a copy of Peter Marshall’s excellent letter from the Braidwood Times this week. More to follow on this.

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Little River Road approaching Monkittee Creek bridge. Only the upstream willows (to the left) remaining.

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Immediately upstream of the bridge. A riparian willow corridor, surrounding a stabilised and shaded series of pools.

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Immediately downstream of the bridge. The previous riparian corridor habitat now lying in piles waiting to be incinerated.

Dear Editor,

Was it Einstein who said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result? On that measure LLS has become completely unhinged out on the Little River Road. Continue reading

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.

Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?

Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?‘ is the title of a conference paper authored by Paul Naninnga, Paul Dann and Haikai Tane. It was delivered at the 1994 National Greening Australia conference in Fremantle. I’ve tried to find a copy online in the past, to no avail, so recently sourced a beat up old photocopy from, co-author, Paul Dann which I’ve scanned and am making available here:

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I’ve also added it to our useful publications page.

A pioneering work on the topic of nativism and its more realistic and pragmatic alternatives. Twenty years on, it is still razor sharp and pertinent to an enlightened perspective on practical environmental and agricultural engagement in landcare, today and for the future.

Greening Australia has provided permission to reproduce with attribution–see below for the full reference for this publication.

To get you started I have provided the abstract, but be sure to read the entire paper. It is a very readable document and makes many enlightened points.



Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?

by Paul Nanniga, Paul Dann and Haikai Tane.

Abstract:

The adversarial notion of exotics versus natives is an ecological misconception, and the idea that one is better than the other is unscientific on ecological grounds. In order to survive, and for cultural reasons, Homo sapiens has interacted with the landscape for at least a hundred thousand years through hunting, fishing, food gathering, seed dispersal, burning, clearing, urbanising, grazing and cropping. However, new and dynamic ecosystems have been created through a process of continual adaptation, and native and exotic biota have formed new interdependencies.

A disturbing new development has been the cult of “nativism” which emphasises the exclusive use of native biota. Implicit in this doctrine is the belief that native organisms, or ecosystems, are inherently superior to those which exist through human activity. This leads to policies favouring the exclusive use of natives. Continue reading

Open letter to Dr Tim Flannery

Ever since he watched the ABC TV series ‘Two Men in a Tinny’, in which celebrated scientist and author Dr Tim Flannery and comedian John Doyle advocated for nation-wide willow eradication, Peter Marshall has been trying persistently to contact  Dr Flannery to canvass an alternative approach.

Recently, Peter was delighted to receive a reply from Dr Flannery along with a request for further information. Dr Flannery said he’d be interested to learn about Peter’s work and asked if the willows are ever removed after they’ve done their job holding banks together.

Peter CC’d me into his reply and invited me to respond with an outline of what Non-Nativist Landcare is about and what we’re hoping to achieve. After some encouragement, I’m posting my response here for others to consider. We’re yet to receive further correspondence from Dr Flannery who is undoubtedly a very busy individual, but we live in hope he has read what we sent, and will consider it.

What follows is a simple cut and paste of my email, sent to Dr Flannery and Peter Marshall. I know it’s lengthy and might be a bit heavy, but I wasn’t going to waste time on small talk.



Thanks for your kind introduction Peter. Sorry to be so slow to respond, I have had a number of pressing tasks to complete recently.

Dr Flannery, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to write to you. Peter has asked that I outline our thinking and operations (quite a task). I will try to keep what I have to say relatively brief, though this will be difficult.

My educational background is a Bachelor’s degree in ‘Ecological Agriculture’ from CSU. I have since completed a B.Sci(Hons) year looking at natural repair processes within incised swampy meadows. I’m currently pursuing further study at ANU in biological anthropology.​ ​In approaching agriculture from an ecological perspective​ we learn to take a functional approach to agroecosystems and to ourselves (as humans) and our place in this biosphere. It’s odd, but for many people, the word ‘ecological’ simply means ‘natural’; ​so ​agriculture and humans are ​believed to exist somehow​ ​outside of, or beyond, ecological processes. This is clearly not the reality of our situation ​here ​on Earth, as you have expertly documented​​ (several times). Continue reading