The War on Willows

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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Re: The War on Willows

Post by duane » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:21 am

Save the trees: advocate defends need for willows By FAYE WHEELER
18 Jan, 2011 04:00 AM ... 49587.aspx

Dubbo’s Michael Morandini has put the wind up willow-destroyers who are “playing with the lifeblood” of Australia - its rivers.
The Peter Andrews convert wants the removal of willows to stop along the Macquarie and called on government departments to stop ignoring the evidence that the trees save the land from degradation and soil loss.

Mr Morandini accused departments of “intellectual snobbery” against Mr Andrews, but Central West Catchment Management Authority (CWCMA) general manager Tim Ferraro rejected the claim of narrow-mindedness.

Mr Morandini argued that although exotic, willows assisted with a desirable net build up of soil and that erosion resulted from their removal.

The chiropractor and “lifelong student of human health and natural farming techniques” spoke to the Daily Liberal after Narromine retiree Bob Meadley criticised the destruction of willows along the Macquarie.

Mr Meadley blamed the CWCMA for its role in funding the removal of willows, although it was a project of the Narromine Shire Council.

Mr Morandini said he had visited Mr Andrews at least 40 times and was convinced that the crusader of natural sequence farming techniques and his approach to Australia’s “water assets” worked.

Australia had huge amounts of water going to waste and the way to use it was to rely on little structures to slow down the stream velocity and to settle out the soil particles, he said.

Instead its willows were removed.

“I ask readers to start observing the result and if it is not sustainable it must not continue,” he said.

“If there’s not a net gain and a net build up in silt and soil along the waterway and floodplain as is observable in Peter Andrews’ works, but there is in fact a net loss in soil as willows are removed, it’s easy to see which is the correct technique versus the incorrect technique.

“In Peter Andrews’ work there is always a net build up of soil and beautiful fertility.”

Mr Morandini defended the basis of Mr Andrews’ method, saying observation was the first part of science and took a stab at what he regarded as an unwillingness of departments to “listen” and “observe”.

Mr Ferraro said the CWCMA had funded some natural sequence farming projects in the central west.

“We don’t necessarily see any conflict in Peter Andrews’ methods and what the CMA advocates,” he said.

Mr Ferraro previously said willow removal led to more fish, more native vegetation and a more stable river.



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Re: The War on Willows

Post by duane » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:04 pm

Permaculture co-founder David Holmgren has made a recent media release condeming willow removal.

See article below taken from ... 69848.aspx

Hepburn Springs expert says willows first line of defence against flooding
08 Feb, 2011 03:00 PM

HEPBURN Springs permaculture designer David Holmgren has called for willow removal programs to be halted as a line of defence against the flooding of central Victorian steams.

Mr Holmgren said while many people pointed to vegetation clogging waterways in low lying towns such as Creswick and Clunes as the cause of flood damage, stream side vegetation was actually the last line of defence to buffer the force of floods.

He said willow removal programs had set back central Victorian streams almost to their guttered gold era condition while the native revegetation programs that mostly followed willow destruction had mostly failed to restore functional riparian vegetation.

Hepburn Shire mayor Rod May urged streamside managers to heed the advice from Mr Holmgren.

"We are beginning to understand the role of biodiversity in our pursuit of sustainable and resilient development, but our understanding is an impoverished one if we fail to recognize the assets we have in the form of exotic species," he said. "Willows are just one of the many species that comprise our biodiversity and play a positive functional role."

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Re: The War on Willows

Post by oakwdpk » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:08 pm

Wow, I haven't visited for a while and this has certainly been a debate hasn't it! One of our favorite sayings now when looking at our paddocks, or anything else, is What beautiful green surface area! We regularly lend our PA books and CDs to friends so they know why we are now avid fans of our weeds and willows. As a previous horticulture student in a different life, and a native plant zealot for years with reveg projects I remain proud of, PAs insight was revolutionary and revelationary for us. It explained so much of what had disappointed us about our native-only efforts. The soil and conditions just werent right, the degradation is so bad now natives need help.

With our current property the NSF trials we've played with are already yielding much stronger results, and SOOOOO much more affordably. Survival rates of our native seedlings are also much higher. Soil life is incredible. Weeds are actually reduced after just one half year. We've had a great cool summer here in SA, but our NSF paddock is much better condition than the rest even so.

Nearby however our streams continue to have willows removed, weeping and other alike.the Murray river suffers bank collapse on a grand scale where willows were cleared. Coincidence? I don't believe in that anymore! No one here knows or seems to care weeping willows are ok. They all get ripped out and burned. And while I also can't point to an Internet post re willows being targeted as they're not native, I've talked enough advisors to know this sits firmly under the allegations of oxygen deprivation etc that real life observations (not test tube tests) do not support. people are really well intentioned, patriotic and love our Aus plants and like many of us used to do, find it hard to see it differently. We all need our Ah Ha moment I think. we r getting there surely :D

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Re: The War on Willows

Post by duane » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:54 pm

What a great letter of endorsement. Can you tell us a little more about what NSF ideas you have implemented and what brought you to the decision to do so, and attach a few comparative pictures (with people in them). And please suggest how we can further help them in spreading the word.

You have hit the nail right on the head. We have this idea that we can ameliorate erosion and river incision using just native plants, plants that did not evolve in the un-natural engineered landscape that we, humans, have created today. Native plants did not evolve to match the problem. They evolved in a floodplain environment not in superficially imposed drainage channels which many of our creeks and rivers have become. We are asking the natives to create a band-aid they were not conditioned to do. We need extraordinary plants to solve the problem. Willows are just one of those plants that can be temporally used in the landscape to give the natives the time to re-establish. We need to use all the resources we can muster because the erosion damage is so severe and endangers the sustainability of our soils’ fertility. Any body declaring the damage which is often caused after the removal of willows is simply collateral has to be a zealot. The emphasis on willow management ought not to be just pull them out no matter what, but on actually using them to best advantage.

Interestingly, there is an FOI request to the Federal Government asking for information on how much money has been spent on Willow removal. Their first response was the need to pay a fee of about $60,000, later on asking why it was reduced to about $21,000, because they would need evaluate what could be made available, read what they might delete, black out. Its almost like the funds spent on willow removal is top secret. They have reduced this fee again to slightly less than $1,000. There a deeper problem at heart.

Shirley Henderson
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Re: The War on Willows

Post by Shirley Henderson » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:33 am

Duane, I am very annoyed at the money being wasted on weed removal. I have found that money is allocated and must be spent on it. I have put forward ideas for landcare using the money allocated and am told NO it has to be spent on weed removal. Worst of all it is NOT neccessary and time frames for spending the money is not viable. If you have to take out weeds (and I mean large trees and shrubs) it changes the landscape so drastically that you are then dealing with so many other DIFFERENT situations than initally planned for. Also what happens next is often unpredictable! (unless done slowly so that the outcomes can be tested along the way)
When asking what is the end result going to be or where is this going to take us in 2 years or 5 years. (silence) no answer. Just the money has to be spent! It seems the goal is spending the money!!!!
I see my role removing weeds as a gardening project and do not recommend it for large wild areas that can positively resolve their own issues.
This could be a discussion in itself and should be raised. I wish some other landcare people would get into this forum.
The time frames for spending money on weed control is definitley unwise because an ecological system works at its own pace and we should be working with the systems not demanding that systems adapt to our financial time frames.

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