Bushfires in Victoria: Natural sequence hydrology approach

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

We do not endorse any answers from anyone in this forum except Peter Andrews himself.

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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Post by ColinJEly » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:16 am

Here is an idea for anyone who has the land to do it. If anyone does, I, and I am sure others here would be interested to know the results.
1. Fence of an area 25mx25m to exclude stock and rabbits
2.Now leave everything alone to Mother Nature

See what plants come up from the seed bank. If you felt inclined you could help things along by planting a few non eucalypts, but who knows what is lurking in the seed bank just waiting for the right chance?!

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Post by brettmtl » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:08 pm

Hi Colin, think it will take a while for nurseries to catch on.

Massive opportunity for any nursery propagators, start growing rainforest species.
At Kuranga, think they had a couple of myrtle in stock, no Sassafras, but the majority of plants there are drought tolerant, which most of the time equates to fire prone.

The focus on planting drought tolerant plants hasn't helped the situation. The last few years it has been heavily promoted by councils and other authorities, with good reason, as it is better to have something growing then nothing at all.
This encouraged nurseries to grow these plants and the public to buy and establish them.

After the recent droughts and bushfires a new vision is needed, Peter's vision and rehydrating our landscape can play a major part here. If there was more moisture and nutrients in the soil rainforest and other hydrating and co-operative plants can be established :D

An all round approach is needed. Have local councils and other authorities, promoting and subsidising rainforest plants, nurseries will then grow them and finally people will plant them.

Sounds easy in theory

:lol: :lol:

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Post by ColinJEly » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:17 am

Here is an interesting site from Museum Victoria about the Mountain Ash forests surrounding Melbourne.

Seems we will only have to wait 600 fire free years for them to be dominated by Nothofagus

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Post by jenni » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:05 pm

hey colin,we've actally already done that.sort of.its an area about 50m by 25m.it is at the top of a laneway that leads up to our hills and has a water trough. its history is chequered.we decided last year, after our second attempt at sowing a mixed perremial pasture failed, to have a go at just locking it up and seeing what happens.the area was baring off, sheet erosion forming.at summer last year it was so hot everything died even the star thistles perished.we have crash grazed it twice since may last year.(1 day high impact grazing with sheep).we have dumped hay, a ute load of manure- not spread- garden clippings, and daggy stain crutchings. we've formed contours of sorts but they've dissapated.i've also put in kikuyu clippings in the run off spots and covered them in the dirty wool.so we haven't exactly done nothing but we have otherwise left it to its own devices.it has been overgrown with stinging nettles, marshmallow, capeweed, shephards purse,pattersons curse,erodium,but also contains remnant lucerne and chicory as well as various clovers and trefoil.there are several other types of broadys i don't know the name of.after the graze i have found that under all this is "oatgrass" and lots of it,and i'm very happy to say- baby microleana-which we are seeing emerge in other small paddocks where we've really been able to control the grazing and slashed bulk weeds. there is also currently dormant red grass and warrego summer grass on the fence lines. the plans for this area is more of the same we want to see where our seedbed takes us.

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Post by brettmtl » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:20 pm

Hi Colin,

It has only taken us 200 years to stuff the Great Divide up.

With a concerted effort and plan, Mountain Ash canopy and Nothofagus understorey could be established within 10 years, especially with our current knowledge and technology.

Just depends whether we keep playing the blame game

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Southern Rainforest Corridor

Post by Rusemc » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:26 pm

Just read your post Brett, great work. It has given me a lot of food for thought.
Being a resident on the plains of northern NSW, we're away from the forests but the 'Pilliga' 120k to the south has experienced several fires in my 30yrs of residence up here and I can see the relevance of regrowth of eucalypts to that situation.
This is my first post on this site too. I am studying Environmental Restoration externally from Murdoch in WA, albeit a bit later in life. :wink:
Cheers Russ

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Post by gbell » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:38 pm

jenni - what a fascinating experiment and results. I'm very dubious of this idea that all we need to do is improve the soil and the "good guys" win. Some weeds seem to inhabit undamaged fertile soils...

But your post certainly gives hope to that exciting idea. What books informed your strategy? A few of your actions were new to me...

Shirley Henderson
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Post by Shirley Henderson » Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:58 pm

I think the point is that the bad guys are in fact the good guys. Maybe not all the time but the plants work things out. It is not about restoring pristine native vegetation as that is long gone with history. Most plants are useful and if managed can do the work for us. If left to themselves they would repair our natural systems in due course. Why do we have to declare what should grow here in Australia just because that is what used to grow here. Conditions have dramatically changed so it seems natural that the eco systems and the plants within it would also adapt to the current circumstances. I am also an advocate for Native Plant conservation as I enjoy diversity.

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Post by jenni » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:45 am

hi there, to answer your questions gbell, i have of course read both of peters books.other reading includes permaculture theory alot of mixed reading to do with native grass regeneration. i read dpi info, old ag textbooks (for a giggle),organic gardening books,alan savoury,gardening australia, diggers, newspapers,farm journal, and talk alot.i am very lucky to know a few old hands at pasture management and ardent cell grazers who have taught me about plant successions and the superior effectiveness of grazing management to chemicals for weed control.we are also trying to recover from several years of hard dry unproductive seasons so poverty has prompted us to think outside the square so to speak.i am happy to say that we have an estimated 4-5t/ha dry matter on the place at present and we are in the peak of our growing season.we have used no chems,no fertilizers, no pesticides and we have sown and oversown -to varying degrees of success about 100ha of oats with some paddocks undersown to clover.we have a serious wild radish problem in 1 paddock,which is probably our most fertile country-alluvial loam creek flats which we will cut for silage this week before it pods.the 25mx50m area in question is the junction point in the middle of a 't' with 5has of 50m wide tree lots on either side which run along the break of slope (cma grant).the cma is also a great support and source of knowledge and encourage innovative approaches to fertility and weed control.

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Post by duane » Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:09 am

Regeneration of Columbian Rainforest

In the early 1980's Gaviotas began planting a Caribbean pine tree in the otherwise barren llanos of eastern Colombia. These trees were able to survive in the highly acidic soil with the help of mycorrhizal fungus applied to their roots. Over the years, this forest has expanded to approximately 8,000 hectares, or 20,000 acres. The presence of the forest has altered the local climate by generating an additional 10 percent rainfall, which also supports Gaviotas' water bottling initiative.

The processing of tree resin has become an important economic activity for the community. Gaviotans discovered that their pine forest can produce twise as much resin as any other resin-tapping forest in the world. Tree tappers normally use sulfuric acid when making incisions, but Gaviotans use an enzyme that appears to be beneficial for the trees. The use of mycorrhizal fungus may also contribute to their productivity.

Gaviotans produce a very high-grade resin in their efficient, zero-waste facility. Even the packaging of the resin was designed to minimize excess material. Resin can be poured directly into cardboard boxes, cooled and shipped to market.

Palm trees are now being planted in the forest to support the production of biodiesel for the trucks that to transport their products to Bogota.

Over the years the pine trees have provided a shady understory for other plants and animals to thrive. Some of these species may be dormant seeds of ancient rainforest that once covered the region. The pines are slowly being crowded out by the regeneration of indigenous species. The community is generating power with turbine engines fueled by the aging pines in their forest.

If they can do it in Columbia we can do it here....lets plant out to Australian rainforest species and give Eucalypts the flick!!

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Post by ColinJEly » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:22 pm

It beats me why our Forest Services don't plant a variety of plants. Many non-eucalypts are valuable timber trees eg Nothofagus, Toona G. robusta andArtherosperma just to name a few. While they were at it they could plant along all watercourses Salix alba var caerulea

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