Tag Archives: war on weeds

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Australians are opposed to this form of environmental destruction, but the removal industry remains profitable due to outdated environmental funding programmes.

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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.

Our Hero Nativist. (Or how the Australian Humanist of the Year 2005 has made my family miserable and set back riverine repair by decades)

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.

Here’s a new post from Mr. Peter Marshall (see introduction and background here), in which he points out that even our most respected scientists are sometimes liable to provide poorly-reasoned nativist prejudice in place of rational ecological assessment and objective science.



Our Hero Nativist.  (Or how the Australian Humanist of the Year 2005 has made my family miserable and set back riverine repair by decades)

Had yet another Field Day at our place recently. The usual inspiring, educational, well catered for gift of a day from my family to the Landcare world. But there was hostile body language and muttered comments from one group when viewing a stand of Heritage Cricket Bat Willows (single sex, non invasive, far from water courses).

As we were making our goodbyes the alpha male of the group stepped forward. He said, “Tim Flannery thinks you are a horrible person!” then turned and ran up the bus steps. A real downer for my hospitable family after an exhausting few days. Continue reading

Landcare learning about landscape function

The following post is a reprint of an article published in our local “Landcare Perspective” which is a newsletter put out by the Upper-Shoalhaven Landcare Council (a district level Landcare association, or ‘DLA’). The post was prompted by the article shown below, which appeared in the Winter-Spring 2014 edition of the Perspective….

The Bank Job Article from the Upper-Shoalhaven Landcare Perspective

The Bank Job Article from the Upper-Shoalhaven Landcare Perspective

….and, to a lesser extent by this ‘placestories’ video, which is also about ‘the Bank Job’ project.

The most stimulating aspect of these reports about ‘the Bank Job’ was that they both repeatedly blamed a single willow for causing the 10m deep incision that it was growing at the bottom of! No other causes were ever mentioned. Continue reading

Retarding Australia to an ecological nonsense

It will no doubt become a recurring theme of Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare to point out the limited perspectives informing destructive nativist activities in Australia (and elsewhere). These perspectives are dominated by such a narrow form of Ecology that they are effectively a reductionist science (anathema to a broader Ecological epistemology and understanding).

‘Natural Ecology’, as it’s widely practiced by professional and lay-ecologists in environmental groups and NRM bureaucracies, has become simply a “science” of naming, categorising, and compiling inventories, of species. So much so that these preoccupations often substitute for any real knowledge of how bio-physical systems actually function.

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