Trees

Any questions or comments you have about Natural Sequence Farming processes. These could include general questions or ones about your personal problems.

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Please remember, Natural Sequence Farming has to be tailored for your specific problem and to follow general advice may create more problems for you.

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ColinJEly
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Trees

Post by ColinJEly » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:17 am

A few people have asked about trees to plant, well here is my two bobs worth. Why don't you give Photinia a try? According to my trusty copy of Botanica they will grow in zones 7-10 which is basically any where south of a line Broome-Cairns. A have a few in my back yard probably Photinia robusta They are a large shrub/small tree, they drop leaves constantly. I would have to have the best soil in my backyard underneath them with all the leaf mulch that has decayed over the years. Also they flower profusely and all the spent flower heads add to the mulch.
Cheers
Col.

duane
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Post by duane » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:48 am

Over the past 200 years clearing for ariculture and burning have removed NINETY FIVE percent of Australia's original vegetation since settlement.
Our declining fertility is related directly to this loss of vegetation. Vegetation is the only way in which fertility can be built up in the soil naturally. Vegetation adds organic matter, which is essential to increasing and maintaining soil health.
Therefore, it is important that we grow anything that will grow, not just natives, not just exotics, not just grasses, not just weeds, not just cereals BUT everything that is green and can grow. For, if it is not edible to human or animal consumption, it can be adding carbon to the soil in the form of organic matter keeping our environmental capital in the positive rather than running down our ever decreasing reserves.

Therefore, what Peter Andrews is advocating is, if it is green and growing let it remain that way instead of poisoning and killing the very things that can maintain the health of our soil and therefore the health of our communities.

sheilan
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Fire-resistant forest and managed forest: Bushfires in Vic

Post by sheilan » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:34 am

My first post to NSF forum was a couple of days ago, to the 'General Questions'. I have had no public response so far, but the subject is really important in the light of calls to clear forest in Victoria after the bushfires. I feel that this can only make things far, far worse on every level. I therefore hope it is okay for me to repost under this subject heading of 'trees', after reading Duane's remarks about how important they are. I am seeking comments/discussion on the points I raise below

I am a great admirer of Peter Andrew’s methods, theory and practice as described in his book. Here is my review at http://candobetter.org/node/975

I have mentioned Peter Andrews in the article I discuss below (http://candobetter.org/node/1062) and could well have written the article around his book – but - I was hoping Peter himself might respond to this post and perhaps write an article for candobetter.org.

At http://candobetter.org/ We have also engaged with forest protection advocates and people involved in fire-fighting and forest management (generally keeping their anonymity for obvious reasons) in discussing the recent Victorian Bushfires and we have published information which is not available elsewhere about how the most managed landscapes (logged forests, thinned eucalypt forests, burned-off land and plantations) were the most affected in the fires, contrary to what appears to be damage control assertions backed by some industries on the mainstream media.

I am not looking to engage in controversy here about the bushfires; I am writing this to introduce the specific suggestions which I have written about here: http://candobetter.org/node/1062, that we might attempt to repair and consolidate the natural forest hydrology in order to mitigate micro and local climate change and rainfall and water storage as well as bushfire risk. I have even suggested that we could recycle the Gunnamatta outfall in Victoria to irrigate (to whatever degree possible and could be regional or local etc) strategic forests (There are 190 GL of urban run-off available that go out to sea and cause enormous complaint at the outlet).

Objections I have received include an erroneous assumption that I am suggesting piping water over the Great Australian Divide; I was thinking more of hydrating the area where the most recent bushfires had attacked, with view to consolidating natural hydrology, microclimate and aiming to change the composition of the forests to promote wetter forest and potentially wetter local climate. We have a State government which thinks nothing of enclosing, pumping and piping water all over the place, anyway, and which is considerably interfering in natural hydrology to the detriment of landholders, animals, trees, and the whole state, IMHO. Also, we are currently diverting water to irrigate land for grain crops, where evaporation is huge.

Another objection communicated to me was that the research material I cited was about tropical rainforests; I don't think this is a substantial objection, since I am talking about how opening any forest will dry it. Also the pattern of severest fires reinforces my position. I intend to write a new article soon, based on learning from this article.

Note that some people may not agree with all the material on our website. We have numerous contributors, some international.

I am an environmental sociologist and most recently edited, Sheila Newman, Ed., The Final Energy Crisis, Pluto Press, UK, 2008 which is a collection of scientific and political articles about the viability of new technologies, analysis of basis of economic growth, and the outlook for different countries within the fossil fuel decline paradigm. There is also a chapter called, “Peak Soil”.

novaris
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Post by novaris » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 am

Hi sheilan,

part of the problem is that your link to the fire article has a mistake in it and leads to the front page which is confusing. The correct link should be http://candobetter.org/node/1062

I am not really in a position to judge much of what you comment on but I would tend to agree with the following from your article.
A healthy forest is a microclimate that recycles its own water and creates rain.
The forests that burned were not healthy forests. They have been thinned for centuries by logging. Prior to that, the dry forests were largely created through aboriginal fire-stick farming.
I would not really be considered a conservationist, I do believe it is important to greatly increase ground cover, biodiversity and retention of water on land. I also believe we need to take care to provide a range of habitat for existing fauna. I do not however think that continuing to support the reproduction of eucalyptus monoculture forests is a good idea.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.

sheilan
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Post by sheilan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:58 am

The Eucalyptus monocultures are a product of fire, as far as I can see, and, if we want to diminish bushfires, we need to assist the forests to change their composition and climate. That means an adaptation away from eucalyptus.

Apparently the eucalyptus forests are less flammable after 30 years and the flammability is increased by thinning at any time (not surprisingly).

I had not considered the idea of conservationism to require conservation of every detail as found. I guess I think of it more of conserving biodiversity and healthy forest cover - lots of it - in the best way one can. Obviously you need to retain things like manna gums if you want to retain koalas, but you don't have to have the same composition of every forest forever.

Fewer fires would allow wet-condition trees to grow higher than the eucalypts, and then they would take over. That is what I would like to see. Where forests have been thinned already would provide the opportunity to sow different species and understory, to prevent the relative sparseness of understory in a totally eucalypt forest.

Peter Andrews' thesis has pretty much sold me on willows and weeds. After I read his book I went out and rejoiced at all the weeds (large garden with orchard).

Sheila N

novaris
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Post by novaris » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:43 am

I like Peters idea of growing trees on the higher parts of land and making use of them to raise nutrients and then allow water to transport them downhill. While this may not go as far as your idea of wet forest it does increase the overall land cover and adds to the climate benefits. I am considering some of the permaculture principles and would like to investigate using oak trees for truffles and shitaki mushrooms. In this way the timbered area could provide income, quality timber and renewable energy as well as improving the mineral and water cycles.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.

sheilan
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Post by sheilan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:15 pm

I intend to have a look at the above-ground and underground water-courses in the area and see if I can find out how they may have changed historically and also the variations in the vegetation cover. The gold-rush would have made a huge difference due to clearing and leaching of the ground.

nik
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Post by nik » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:45 pm

The biggest issue that I see for transforming the forests into a mostly wet schlerophyll ecosystem and then transitioning to rainforest be it cool temperate to tropical is water. In particular holding water on site in the soil. I think it is possible by the creation of massive contour channels across the topography. It will change the flora and fauna distribution but I don't think that is really much of an issue as we have pretty much changed everything so massively already. The way I see it is in 50 000 years who will give a fig. One thing I am certain of is a constant fire regime ends up with one thing an ecosystem or more likely a monoculture of plants that promote fire that finally results in the desertification of our country.

The greening of Australia needs to begin and Peter's ideas are a fantastic place to start.

duane
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Post by duane » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:58 am

You may want to check this website out:

http://www.treat.net.au/

Geoff Tracey and Len Webb were instrumental in getting me involved in a rainforest research program in NQ.

Here is a link to Geoff's legacy.

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