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.
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.
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Australians are opposed to this form of environmental destruction, but the removal industry remains profitable due to outdated environmental funding programmes.
Posted in Biological restoration, Flood Creek, Natural Resource Management
Tagged Flood Creek, habitat, Landcare, Natural Resource Management, non-destructive revegetation, Upper-Shoalhaven Landcare Council, war on weeds, willow destruction, willow removal, willows
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.
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.
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
Posted in Flood Creek, Landcare, Nativist Ideology, Natural Resource Management, Willows
Tagged ecological function, ecology, Flood Creek, habitat, Landcare, nativism, nativist ideology, Natural Resource Management, non-destructive revegetation, weed response, weeds, willow management, willows
Mr Peter Andrews (OAM), founder of Natural Sequence Farming, recently visited Flood Creek. He was extremely impressed by the diversity of the vegetation growing there. Maintaining a diversity of plant species, especially including so-called ‘weeds’, has been a major part of Peter’s message over the years. Plant diversity inevitably builds a landscape, increasing fertility and restoring hydrology. It was great to compare notes with Peter at Flood Creek and find him as impressed by the diversity of our little patch as we are.
As anyone familiar with resilience thinking would know, diverse systems tend to be more resilient systems, with capacity to absorb shocks and yet maintain ecosystemic function. In fact, the number-one principle of resilience, as presented in this handy summary, is to ‘maintain diversity and redundancy’. It is a pity that the ecologically-illiterate among us often believe maintaining diversity in some areas requires demolishing it in others, and that ‘biodiversity’ can only perform worthwhile ecological functions if it’s native biodiversity. Continue reading
Posted in Flood Creek, Landcare, Nativist Ideology
Tagged biodiversity, Flood Creek, Landcare, nativism, nativist ideology, Natural Resource Management, natural sequence farming, non-destructive revegetation, Peter Andrews, willow destruction, willows
This post represents a bit of a recap and update on where things are at.
Experienced participants/observers can skip the following background and overview if desired and go straight to the list of group/blog activity updates below.
Background and overview
Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group is a grassroots community of people who wish to improve the health, productivity and ecological well-being of Country. This is the mission of most Landcarers: ‘caring for the land‘. Our group is particularly focused upon the urban and peri-urban riparian zones within Braidwood, NSW (especially the existing plants and animals of the non-nativist forest along Flood Creek).
Flood Creek riparian vegetation
Beyond this, we also have an interest in issues that emerge in association with caring for this very ‘altered’ environment. Broadly speaking, the group has a role in examining (and hopefully reformulating) presently-dominant nativist focuses and practices in Landcare and environmentalism in Australia. Continue reading
Posted in Flood Creek, Landcare, Non-Nativism
Tagged Flood Creek, Landcare, nativism, nativist ideology, Natural Resource Management, non-destructive revegetation, NRM, Upper-Shoalhaven Landcare Council, urban creeks