Tag Archives: scientific studies

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:


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.


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

Natural Sequence Farming landscape rehydration project at Mulloon Creek

Peter Hazell is a longtime local landcarer and was the first Landcare Coordinator in the Upper-Shoalhaven district (sometime last century). Owing to his affable and level-headed nature, he has always been a popular contributor to the Landcare community. In-between family life and managing 1000 acres on the Mongarlowe River, plus developing his own homestead not far from Braidwood, Pete currently works as a project coordinator for the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration project. This catchment-wide project involves multiple landholders near Bungendore, NSW. It aims to implement and scientifically assess aspects of Natural Sequence Farming and has been enthusiastically embraced by the local community.

One thing Natural Sequence Farming is consistently associated with is ‘Landscape Rehydration’ using techniques which slow runoff and spread flood waters across valley-fill floodplains. I asked Pete to provide us with an overview of what might be expected from the Mulloon project and to explain how any outcomes will be scientifically monitored. Here, he discusses what this catchment-community project hopes to achieve and why.

Landscape assessment at Mulloon

by Peter Hazell

Just before Christmas Peter Andrews, some landholders, and I undertook initial onground assessment and planning work in the Mulloon watershed. Over three days we visited five properties.  We plan to do at least another 17 days over the next 6 months. Our three days out were also used to test methods for documenting discussions at each location. Continue reading

Australian landscapes: Mary White’s contribution towards our understanding of them.

The Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group blog is a collaborative effort. We’re happy to publish your contributions as part of this Landcare Network discussion. See the collaborate-contribute page for a range of topic suggestions or get in touch to discuss your idea.

The following is a new post from Mr. Colin Samundsett. Colin was raised on the Atherton Tablelands and became a surveyor by trade, but also cultivated an expertise in rainforest structure and species. A nursery man and tree planter by avocation, also a wood turner and expert with axe, adze and scarfing hoe. Here Colin introduces and reviews an important series of books produced over several years by Australian Paleobotanist and author Mary White.

 Australian landscapes:

Mary White’s contribution towards  our understanding of them.

By Colin Samundsett

Australia’s first wave of immigrants, their descendants and those supplementing them, wrestled with turbulent changes for 50 or 60 millennia. What the first European immigrants saw on their arrival was a between-rounds pause, the last, in an enduring bout with those changes. It was a time of remarkable adjustment between the landscape and the Europeans’ predecessors. But, the continent’s fundamental geology and geomorphology remained unchanged.

Scottish migrant Peter Dodds McCormick, Sydney resident for 23 years, believed he had enough knowledge of his new country to pen a song about it: his Advance Australia Fair’s first public delivery in 1878 declared “…For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share…”. Well, we’re sharing it with 21 million more than he was then; and there’ll be another million in four years from now. But, do we really understand just what we are sharing?

We have learned much about this land since 1878, and Paleobotanist Mary White has synthetised it admirably. She provides a wealth of information on how it is, and how it came to be; all in very readable style with five books. Continue reading

Biological Restoration Methods report

We have added a new page to the blog. This page will host useful written reports and other information related to productive land management and repair, and to other topics of general relevance to Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare.

The first of these reports has been generously provided to us by Mari Korhonen who lived and worked in our region for several years, learning from a number of experienced land managers. The report provides a useful overview of historic stream degradation in southeast Australia, outlines some of the processes involved and discusses practical biological restoration methods.   Continue reading

What?! So, suddenly willows cause erosion?!?

Has there ever been a clearer indication of how the dominance of a simplistic ideology can warp the way we frame reality, than in the case of beliefs around ‘willows and erosion’?

In Australia, Salix species were used from the early days of British occupation to stabilise observed erosion.  This use continued for around 200 years. Let’s face it, where they are left in place, willows are still preventing erosion to this day. Despite this, for some reason, amongst the lengthy litany of accusations levelled at willows by nativist literature is the charge that they cause erosion! Continue reading