The Untrained Environmentalist

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ColinJEly
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The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby ColinJEly » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:35 am

Hi Everyone
I have just finished reading a book called The Untrained Environmentalist by John Fenton. It shows what John did on his property 'Lanark' near Hamilton in Victoria. A lot of what John says in his book echoes Peter's ideas. John also pays tribute to the ideas of the great P A Yeomans. The cover of the book says it all. The aerial photo of the property when John started 50 years ago and the one as it looks now. Some may remember seeing John and his property some time ago on the ABC's Landline program.

John has restored wetlands and planted 1000's of trees. He is critical of 'Industrial Forestry' that turns farmland into plantations, instead he favour farmers devoting part of their land to agroforestry. He says otherwise you have small country towns dying because there is no source of employment in the district.

He says that after 50 years 20% of Lanark is restored wetlands and trees and other vegetation. He would have liked it to be 30% but these things take time and money and you have to make a living from your land.

duane
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby duane » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:11 am

'Lanark' is a great example of what can be done.....Nature is forgiving and when treated properly responds apprapiately.

Lanark is an amazing example of what one man can do....its a real credit to John and his wife, now living in town. His son now runs the farm and John's 100 year vision for his degraded property is more than half way there and the 50yo oak trees he planted as seedlings, now look amazing!!

ghosta
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby ghosta » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:47 pm

ColinJEly wrote:Hi Everyone
I have just finished reading a book called The Untrained Environmentalist by John Fenton. It shows what John did on his property 'Lanark' near Hamilton in Victoria. A lot of what John says in his book echoes Peter's ideas. John also pays tribute to the ideas of the great P A Yeomans. The cover of the book says it all. The aerial photo of the property when John started 50 years ago and the one as it looks now. Some may remember seeing John and his property some time ago on the ABC's Landline program.

John has restored wetlands and planted 1000's of trees. He is critical of 'Industrial Forestry' that turns farmland into plantations, instead he favour farmers devoting part of their land to agroforestry. He says otherwise you have small country towns dying because there is no source of employment in the district.


Hmm....agroforestry..? Hope it works for him. Unfortunately the economics of doing this are so variable depending on your location, site conditions etc that while the suggestion may be attractive, its not an option for many farmers, simply because on economics alone it falls behind many alternatives.. But if you can justify agroforestry on other grounds, then thats another matter.

duane
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby duane » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:25 am

its not an option for many farmers, simply because on economics alone it falls behind many alternatives.. But if you can justify agroforestry on other grounds, then thats another matter.


That's right.....ALL of the environmental benefits would far outweigh any economic one from harvesting the timber.

John Fenton himself would acknowledge that, I'm sure.

ghosta
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby ghosta » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:38 pm

duane wrote:
That's right.....ALL of the environmental benefits would far outweigh any economic one from harvesting the timber.

John Fenton himself would acknowledge that, I'm sure.


Duanne, it may pay to think a little about the statement you just made. There would be many environmentally aware landowners who would not agree with you. Do you know why?

duane
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby duane » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:17 pm

Sorry, I thought I was agreeing with your point above.

If you're unsure I will state it again hopefully a little more clearly this time:

Hmm....agroforestry..? Hope it works for him. Unfortunately the economics of doing this are so variable depending on your location, site conditions etc that while the suggestion may be attractive, its not an option for many farmers, simply because on economics alone it falls behind many alternatives.. But if you can justify agroforestry on other grounds, then thats another matter.


To wit, my reply was:

That's right, I agree with both your points.....Point No 1. "agroforestry....its not an option for many farmers....on economics....." I agree.

Point No.2. "But if you can justify agroforestry on other grounds, then thats another matter."

I agree, because all of the environmental benefits would far outweigh any economic one from harvesting the timber.


And in answer to your question:

There would be many environmentally aware landowners who would not agree with you. Do you know why?


No.

ghosta
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby ghosta » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:00 pm

Its not a question of enviromental benefits outweighing economic benefits. Its a matter of adding the two together.

ColinJEly
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:50 am
Location: melbourne

Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby ColinJEly » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:29 pm

I think one major point to be taken from John's book, it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy to do things for 'environmental' reasons, but at the end of the day you have to make a living and put food on the table for your wife and children. John and Cecily managed to do both.

pinit
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby pinit » Mon May 04, 2015 7:42 pm

A wonderful real life example of how much difference can be made to reverse the terrible effects of unsound land management practices. An inspiring book that confirms that it is possible to do agriculture on a broad scale in Australia while at the same time restoring the environment. Indeed John shows how it is absolutely necessary to do so for the future viability of the land and for future generations. Every land owner and land use policy maker should read it.
Buy bedspreads online and bedspreads Australia at very discounted prices.

andy
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Re: The Untrained Environmentalist

Postby andy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:35 pm

I read about John Fenton's place " Lanark" more than 20 years ago.
The striking thing about the before photo of Lanark was that it resembled an environmentally bankrupt dustbowl.
His use of exotic trees is particularly interesting.
Putting aside reveg for economical or conservation's sake for the moment, it must be great to have a much more aesthetically pleasing home to live in. Even from a city dweller's point of view, how much more attractive is it to have a streetscape with mature trees lining it?


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