Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

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CJW
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Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:33 pm
Location: Viet Nam

Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

Post by CJW » Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:19 pm

Greetings,
I am an Aus Aid funded volunteer working in Nth Viet Nam with an NGO that wants to change farming methods to sustainable organics and I am to be managing a 2 to 6 ha farm here that is a victim of the slash and burn and NPK monoculture madness that seems to be a global problem now.

The top soil here, like much of the rest of the region is pretty much non existent, and red clay subsoil is all there is left.
The situation can mostly be managed using NSF advice, but my biggest challenge is the Eucalypt plantation on this site, which I think is E. urophylla. There is also a small plantation of what I believe to be Acacia mangium, but this I believe has been Genetically engineered to prevent seeding fortunately, so should be easy to manage. Problem is, like everyhere else, these 2 species have come to dominate the landscape on the higher ground, but they are never interplanted, so a monoculture situation prevails. Like much of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, these 2 species have come to dominate the landscape and much of this madness appears to be "Aus Aid" funded. I would like to encourage the planting of native rainforest species in the hope of helping what little native fauna remains here and have been at a loss to find Camphor laurel seeds or plants, as they have been long ago logged for their highly prized timber. Quite a contrast to the Aus. situation where I farmed for 35 years or so in the Northern Rivers area of NSW where the cattle and sugar cane industry successfully demonised this tree to the point of having it removed and chipped to fuel the "Green Power" electricity generators at the sugar mills. All this to the tune of in excess of $50 million of government funding I might add.
So please, what should I do to best demonstrate a profitable and sustainable way to deal with the Eucalypt situation here?
Colin Westwood.

Shirley Henderson
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Location: Thirlmere

Camphour Laurel

Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:52 am

HI Colin, would you like some seed? I will collect and send if you wish. You know they grow fast, at least you could begin to restore that. Seed is allowed to be sent.
Shirley

CJW
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:33 pm
Location: Viet Nam

Camphor

Post by CJW » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:49 am

Hi Shirly,
Camphor seeds would be warmly welcomed thanks. Not sure when the seed is dropping, but I will be in Aus (probably Brisbane and NSW Tweed Valley) for the Month of March and can send you an Aus address where they are less likely to vanish in the post.

I seem to remember in one of Peter Andrews books, he had an idea that Camphors may be able to grow amongst Eucalypts, and this has been my experience in the Tweed Valley where I vigorously defended Camphors over a period of many years against ravaging fundamentalist left wing Australian native purists attempts to erradicate them from the landscape.

They may be the perfect way to manage the monoculture here in Viet Nam.
Cheers,
Colin Westwood.

Shirley Henderson
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Location: Thirlmere

seeds

Post by Shirley Henderson » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:46 pm

Hi Colin, send me your address through private messaging. Remind me closer to March as well if you dont mind. They do drop after summer so might be able to get them to you in time while you are still here in Australia. I believe they will have to be cleaned and treated with fungicide.
Are you interested in any other seeds? decidous trees perhaps?
Good luck
Shirley

duane
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Post by duane » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:34 pm

Col

I would chip most of the gums and leave maybe 1%....plantings of Caribbean Pine could be good as a nursery plant.

Google Caribbean Pine regenerates rainforest landscape and TOM, Willy Schmidts work in Borneo.

CJW
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:33 pm
Location: Viet Nam

Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

Post by CJW » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:59 am

Thanks for the suggestion Duane, but unfortunately the Vietnamese have a very short horizon when looking to future profits, as most country folk are very poor and look only at where the next meal is coming from. Such large areas are planted out with this weed that it will require a more creative, short term profit yielding approach if my work is to be replicated.
Gums of course, tend to coppice when cut back. This is one reason why it has been so popular with the Vietnamese, and it is used in construction, paper production and for firewood, on a cut and come again basis. Although your advice would be exactly what I might do if in Oz, I need to adopt a different approach for my efforts to be replicated here. For want of a better idea, I may have to selectively thin the smaller ones for firewood and try to dig out the roots. Plant Camphors and other tough competitors, then try to thin out the biggest Gums for building materials etc. Does Peter have any experience in dealing with this kind of problem in Asia or elsewhere I am wondering?
Colin Westwood.

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:54 am

Col.
The question is who planted the Eucalypts in the first place?(and why?)
Cheers
Col.

duane
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Post by duane » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:01 am

Colin

You have only 2-6 ha under gums and wattles?

CJW
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Location: Viet Nam

Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

Post by CJW » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:18 am

Well meaning Aus Aid projects appear to be the main reason for so many Gums and Acacias in Viet Nam as well as Laos Cambodia and Thailand. Whilst they do quickly "regreen" the landscape it comes at great cost to bio diversity.
Although our 5 ha site has only 1 ha or even less, of Gums, our project must have a focus on training the rest of the farming community about how to return to bio diversity in the landscape, yet still manage to yield a profit.
Colin Westwood.

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:30 pm

Biodiversity?
I wonder if the ancient Mesopotamians would be allowed nowdays to displace the rest of the native vegetation to plant their wheat crops in the 'Fertile Crescent ? :lol:

Probably the project wouldn't get off the ground, too many government forms to fill in! Probably wouldn't pass the 'Environmental Impact Statement' either :roll:

CJW
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Location: Viet Nam

Informed Debate?

Post by CJW » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:48 pm

I welcome informed positive debate.
However, your post re the so called "Fertile Crescent" does little but provide ample evidence that Peter Andrews advice might well have avoided this region becoming the desertified and hostile environment that it is today.
Without the Monoculture wheat farming, irrigation schemes, ploughing and the other madness that is called "farming", this region would probably still be the food basket of the world. The Romans probably provided the straw that "broke the Camel's back" when they introduced goats to the region. It imay well be argued that this led to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Colin Westwood.

duane
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Post by duane » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:54 pm

CJW

Biodiversity in all its forms is ONE of the basic pillars of NSF.....it provides the resilience that all ecosystems strive for. Monocultures on the other hand always herald the beginning of the end.
Last edited by duane on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Stringybark
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Post by Stringybark » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:13 pm

What diametre is the average sized plant at 6 metres from ground level, in the Eucalyptus urophylla plantation currently? What height is the plantation?
Would the thinnings be of a millable size yet?
Is there a sawmill in the region?
Oil production from the heads perhaps? If that species yields enough oil to be viable?

ColinJEly
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Post by ColinJEly » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:06 am

Hello Col.
Goats= Maggots eating the flesh off the land. I like that quote from the Permaculture video 'Greening the Desert! Egypt and Libya used to be the granary of the Roman Empire, wouldn't think so now would you? That deforestation will get you every time. I'm sure you have read in Peter's book how he and his father had to travel for half a day at Broken Hill to find timber?
I'm surprised at you saying that the land where you are is showing signs of the ravages of chemical fertilizer use, I wouldn't have thought that the local economy(or culture) would have run that way? What about now? Are they into things like 'humanure' and composting? While Cinnamomum camphora are certainly an economically valuable species(I bet there wouldn't be a grandmother in Australia that doesn't have a camphorwood box?) what other trees are native to the region? I note that Germany, amongst other countries, has banned the import of all camphor products. Where you are working is it in the coastal lowlands or a more elevated site?
Cheers

Col.

CJW
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:33 pm
Location: Viet Nam

Eucalypts in north Viet Nam, please help

Post by CJW » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:02 am

Below is a sad little story about Eucalypts, found on the internet when I googled "Eucalyptus Oil Production", complete with spelling mistakes:
First introduced to India in 1790 by Tippu Sultan, has, as most non indigenous species introduced from outside of their natural eco system run a-muck of the local vegetation and water table in the Nilgri's.
Many people here have suggested wholesale eradication, but the more enterprising locals have taken to processing the leaves to extract thier medicinal oils for sale locally and abroad.
Getting little for their efforts, a 100 rupes a day six days a week, back breaking labor from sun up to sun set, inhaling fumes from both the medicinal properties of the leaves as well as the large amounts of carbon and other by products produced in the process. Leading to resperitory ailments and a shortened life span.

Seems that the Gum species here (perhaps fortunately), are of no use in oil production. However, personal experience shows that chipping and mulching does indeed work well. Chipped Eucalypt has been used on both of my Tweed Valley farms around 15 cubic metres of Chipped wood and leaves, mostly of local Eucalypt thinnings purchased from commercial chippers have been applied to my Brisbane property. It's fine as long as you spread it out on the surface of the land but do not under any circumstances dig it in. I started on my Brisbane block with little more than compacted fine sand over clay, but now have a rich, bio-diverse food forest on this 800 sq metre suburban property.

Here in Viet Nam, septic toilet systems generally prevail, but bio gas production has become possible using these systems, slightly modified.

Global corporate madness rules supreme here with a flood of cheap imported pesticides, chemical fertilizers, hybrid and GE seeds coming in mainly from China, via business interests with strong political connections.

Sad to say, (see previous posts), they burn everything here. It's truly a basket case. I am working in an area where the mountains meet the coastal lowlands, 100 km north east of Hanoi. No rain there in several months. We should have access to this 5 ha. Property in the coming days. I have many rainforest seeds here, and am in the process of accessing local species to grow in a plant nursery we will design and construct shortly. Just for the record, the sea levels in this part of the world are increacing at 5 mm per year and about one third of Viet Nam is coastal flood plain, placing it high on the list of the top 10 countries in the world, most at risk. High tides at Hoi An in the Central region, often puts parts of the old city under water, as is the case in Saigon lately.
Colin Westwood.

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