Long Stem Planting

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Shirley Henderson
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Location: Thirlmere

Long Stem Planting

Postby Shirley Henderson » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:01 am

Sent :: Message
From: Shirley Henderson
To: duane
Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:28 am
Subject: long stemmed planting
Hello again Duane,
I am writing this time to ask if Peter and yourself have heard of Long Stem Planting. The practise was adopted to simulate the planting of willows. The native plants suited to the area are grown in tube stock pots with ample fertiliser to create a strong root system The plants are then grown to a metre tall. (tall but narrow) They are inserted into holes as deep when they are ready. The technique of planting can be done with power hoses or pole diggers. A small part of plant is left sticking out and grows strongly with no further maintenance. I am very pleased with the results of this method and believe this is something else you could take on board. Join forces in a way. The creater of this idea is Bill Hicks.
I spoke with him last night and he knows of you. He believes in your work also although as with many he is opposed to planting willows. He understands though that the willows are holding many parts of the environment together until better solutions are arrived at so he is not inflexible. I would love for you two to get together and look at his work also. It is really fabulous. He too has put together a short video on the practise and it is worth viewing I am sure he would happily send you a copy. regards again for now
Shirley
Last edited by Shirley Henderson on Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

duane
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Postby duane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:03 pm

I am very interested to hear you say '......Long Stem Planting. The practise was adopted to simulate the planting of willows".

The scientific research on willows worldwide suggests that they are recognised as plants which can repair degraded riparian areas. They are primary colonisers. That is their role and genetic function.

Everywhere around the globe their role is the same....they prepare the way for the secondary successors, the nitrogen fixers. These plants then prepare for the next lot of plants in the sequence until a climax vegetation is achieved and equilibrium is achieved.

This process in Nature is universal. It happens in all riparian zones, in all tropical and temperate rainforests and cold climate mountain ranges.

What I am really intersted to know is what are the Australian plants that have been identified as the primary colonisers??= to willows.

We know that the she oaks are secondary colonisers and red river gums part of the climax vegetation.

If we dont know what the native species sequence is we cannot get the results Nature intended. That is one of the main reasons why so much native planting fails to get off the mark.

So much of our original vegetation has been destroyed either by clearing, burning, cattle and grazing by hard hooved animals, by draining the landscape.

I would welcome somebody posting a list of these primary and secondary succession plants for all the climatic areas of the country.

duane
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Postby duane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:06 pm

I am reposting this email from Jerry Brunetti re the use of willows.

Many thanks for "Back From the Brink"! I feel like I know this guy. It's the kind of stuff I've been witnessing myself for several decades. It's so damn obvious how it works, if experts could realize that the solutions are both simple, yet holistic, which is what the "complexity" is all about. If we only could collectively admit the world is in grave danger and could collectively be enlightened to the realization that we can make a massive difference in such a reasonably short period of time, the forgiveness of nature being what it is, the divine spark within the DNA of every cell, firing 100,000 photonic messages and biochemical reactions every single second. So much of his experience emulates Louis Bromfield of "Malabar Farm", my hero of the 1940's and 1950's. Next week, I start my annual planting of willows along the riparian buffer. I try to plant 100-200 willows/year- fantastic tree. If I had a daughter, her name would be "Willow".

duane
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Postby duane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:09 pm

I am also reposting Professor Haikai Tanes comments on Willows.

I note from the "Bidgee Buzz" undertones of anxiety about "exotics' in the river corridor. Research on riparian biota indicates there are proably greater grounds for concern about the phytotoxicity of Australian red gums! Please be aware that the International Convention on Biodiversity specifically embraces all biota. Since the 1968 UNESCO International Conference on "Use and Conservation of the Biosphere" in France, the UN position has remained unchanged:

"there is no fundamental difference between natural, wild or modified, semi-natural or developed, domesticated or purely artifical vegetations. The laws governing these ecosystems are identical"

When UN Agenda 21 was adopted by member states at Rio in 1992 - and subsequently became international law - the biodiversity concept was excluded from the key list of 27 principles defining sustainable development and environmental protection. Biodiversity is still only a convention because biologists have been unable to demonstate that there is a functional relationship between the Linnaen classification of species and environmental performance. It may come as a surprise to some that the Australian concept of native biodioversity is inconsistent with the international biodiversity convention. It is more about personal beliefs and conservation funding programs than the ecological integrity of watersheds and their environmental performance.

Peter Andrews has demonstrated clearly that the UNESCO position on vegetation, ecosystems and environmental performance is the safe and sound one. Aguably, willows are the world's premier riparian plants - they are used in every continent except Antarctica for riparian and stream restoration works. I have noted from my work in the River Murray, Billabong, "Bidgee and Shoalhaven watersheds that Australia willow communities are excellent nurse crops encouraging the natural regeneration of casuarina as well as providing prime habitat for water dragons, marsupial water rates and platypus; and from beneath the water perspective, willow root plates are veritable supermarkets of macroinvertebrates, yabbies and fish.

Nature does nothing useleslly noted Socrates, a fact worth pointing out to readers in the Bidgee Buzz. You might also add that Nature is an equal opportunity employer - she does not discriminate on the basis of race, genera or species. That is a human failing. A few years ago, I was advised by the leaders of a German Parliamentary Delegation on Conservation and the Environment visiting New Zealand - while here they investigated "native biodiversity programs" - that in Germany they call native biodiversity "ecofascim" because it is based on the same nativist principles that underpinned Hitler's Fascism.

Now that Peter Andrews has shown Australians that exotics are indeed necessary for rehabilating Australian rivers and streams, as well as sustainable farming and ecoforestry, perhaps the Bidgee Buzz can take the lead and expose the "exotics are pests" mentality as a sadly misinformed ecocolonial myth doing more damage than good. It is far, far better to teach your community to observe and enjoy the exciting dance of ecosynthesis uniting native and exotic biota in new and improved riparian ecosystems.

Warm regards
Haikai Tane
______________________
Professor Haikai Tane
Director Watershed Systems
Last edited by duane on Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duane
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Postby duane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:24 pm

I think its worth repeating what Haikai says when he states "Nature does nothing uselessly". If willows are taking up a role repairing degraded riparian zones what is the problem?

Eventually the natives will return when the conditions are right. I think the whole native restorative ideal is a complete furphy. We have destroyed millions of hectares of our native fauna at a rate that is almost impossible to believe.

We have introduced over 200 species of foreign animals and our entire farming system revolves around exotic animals. The areas of the deepest degraded parts of our landscape is the agricultural areas. We need the correct creditor plants to restore the health and fertility of these degraded soils and areas.

Where our native biodiversity fauna is intact we need to be sure that we keep it that way. We are still removing old growth forests from Tasmania quicker than we can replace it and up until recently Qld was still removing millions of hectatres of Native veg.

We need the exotic plants if we cannot find the right natives to provide the correct sequence in these degraded landscapes.

duane
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Postby duane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:15 pm

This is a summary of a paper presented by Dr Michael Wilson of the Murray Darling Basin Commission. Dr Wilson was a Senior research scientist at the University of Ballarat in Victoria. He did his PhD on willows and ran postgraduate programs for 10yrs looking at the role of willows in Australian streams.

Willows: weeds of retention

Dr Michael Wilson
Sustainable Rivers Audit, Murray-Darling Basin Commission

Summary

The way materials, including organic matter, are retained, stored and transformed is at the heart of stream ecology. Retention, storage and transformation of soil, nutrients, salt, seeds and organic matter are also crucial to long-term farm productivity. A landscape view of retention is useful to those interested in ecology and production, and is highly relevant to understanding Natural Sequence Farming.
All but a few willow species are declared Weeds of National Significance and they line tens of thousands of kilometres of streams in south east Australia. They were once widely recommended for riparian planting and restoration, however now the same agencies advocate their removal. Whilst the policy has changed the fundamental biology of willows and their influence on stream function has not.
At this conference I will present ten years of research conducted by my PhD and honours students and myself. The key message is that retention rates of sediment, organic matter, nutrients and woody debris are greater in streams lined by willows than those lined by bare banks (pasture). Retention rates in willow-lined streams are similar to or sometimes greater than in streams lined by native vegetation in agricultural zones. Even more surprising is that this is true even for streams lined by native vegetation last cleared in the gold rush. The recovery from gold rush river metamorphosis in Central Victoria is very slow under native vegetation, even in low-disturbance forest reserves, compared to under willows. Our research has confirmed that high retention rates are largely due to willow root mats and entrapment of large woody debris.
We have studied numerous ecological parameters in willow, native and cleared reaches and we have seen the same overall pattern. The willow-lined streams we have studied in agricultural zones have high ecological and geomorphological values, often greater than those lined by native vegetation. Both native and willow lined streams have higher value than cleared streams. A canopy, regardless of whether it is willow or native, controls in-stream metabolism and temperature. Tree limbs and trunks supply woody debris and deep extensive root systems armour banks and shape the channel. There are also flow-on effects for stream biota, for example 80% of River Blackfish use undercut banks armoured by willow root mats as day time refuges in Birches Creek. Similar results have been found for platypus burrows in the Shoalhaven. Macroinvertebrate assemblages are more diverse and there is greater abundance in highly retentive root mats compared to bare banks or those lined by tea-trees, especially during tunes of high flow. The bugs and fish are taking advantage of the flow refuge provided by the root mats. These patterns are not surprising but are controversial because willows have been declared weeds and society finds it difficult to acknowledge benefits from weeds.
There are specific differences between willows and native trees (eg the palatability of leaves, seasonal patterns of light levels below the canopy, and litterfall timing). However, with the exception of those specifically related to light levels under a deciduous canopy, we have found these to be within the range found for native riparian species.
Clearing willows (or any other riparian tree cover) is not beneficial to in-stream ecological processes in agricultural zones. It is sometimes defended in that it clears the way for planting native vegetation. However, the clearing phase is destructive, recovery is slow and during the establishment of mature native forest retention rates and overall ecological values are low. New approaches are needed to establish the preferred forest without clearing ie using a successional approach. The fact that a stream ecologist and a farmer (Peter Andrews, Natural Sequence Farming) have independently arrived at the same conclusion in relation to willows is noteworthy. A good understanding of the ecological values associated with retention of materials, energy and nutrients in streams would compliment hydrological studies in Natural Sequence Farming systems and help shift public policy and perceptions away from simplistic approaches to weeds.

Shirley Henderson
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Location: Thirlmere

Long Stem Planting

Postby Shirley Henderson » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:21 am

Hi Duane,
Thank you for replying again. In reference to my previous email about Long Stem Planting, my comment that says 'Long Stem Planting simulates the planting of willows' is relevant to past processes of planting willows. To date most planting of natives have been time consuming and require upkeep and maintenace. The sucess rate was not good either. This is of course time consuming and requires some labour often failing anyway. The long stem planting technique is as simple as the planting of willows. If willows are holding the riparian system together then so be it. I think that if we can also establish appropriate natives along the stream banks as well then the natives will battle it out and find their own system of survival. Just getting the young ones to survive and grow in the first place is a major step. The long stem planting method has proven to succeed in saline soils, arid conditions and other harsh different environments. This is a great step in the right direction. I believe that diversity is the key. This is a good place for the conservatiionists to step in locally. Find your local pockets of surviving local native plants species. Grow these and plant these. I am not talking a bout one plant for the whole of Australia, I am talking about saving and recolonising local species that are endemic to your own area using local provinance seed. I do not like seeing plants going extinct taking animals, birds, insects and the many other unknown organisms or species with it. I would like to see local endemic species revegetated and finding their own balance where they belong. Long stem plantings have shown a good success rate of 80-90% as opposed to the past 30% planting tube stock the usual way. These plants have strong roots and fantastic health. They require no ongoing maintenance other than the actual planting. The individual area and climatic system will sort out whether or not a plant belongs there. It either works or it doesnt and as you have pointed out the lovely comment from Haikai Tane 'enjoy the exciting dance of ecosynthesis uniting native and exotic biota in new and improved riparian ecosystems'. My focus is on uniting. regards again Shirley
Last edited by Shirley Henderson on Sat Nov 03, 2007 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duane
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Postby duane » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:36 pm

Thanks Shirley, I too am trying to focus on uniting all of us and in building bridges just like I know you are.

What I am trying to say about the restorative process in degraded landscapes is that we do not have either the plant knowledge or the plants available that took the lead in that successional process.

There are 55,000 km of degraded streams, creeks and rivers in E. Australia.

If you look at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodivers ... ioqld.html titled Native Vegetation Clearance, Habitat Loss and Biodiversity Decline
an overview of recent native vegetation clearance in Australia and its implications for biodiversity you will see the startling and alarming figures of what we as a nation have lost forever.

The site goes on to say quote "Queensland
Historical context:
Since European settlement, extensive areas of the original forests and woodlands in Queensland have been cleared or severely modified. Before European settlement, forest covered an estimated 35 544 000 ha (21 per cent) of Queensland. By 1984 this had been reduced by nearly half to between 17 to 20 million ha. Woodland originally covered approximately 28 per cent of the State but has now been reduced to between 19 and 21 per cent, a loss of some 11 to 15 million ha (GOQLD 1990, p.15). Many native grassland ecosystems have also been significantly modified.

A number of forest and woodland types have been particularly affected, including the brigalow and the mulga. Over the last three decades, brigalow open forests and shrublands have been heavily impacted by clearance. During this period about six million ha of brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) dominated communities were cleared (GOQLD 1990, p.16). Most of the brigalow had disappeared by the 1970s (Gasteen 1987, p.148).

In land dominated by mulga (Acacia aneura) associations known as the Mulga Region, substantial clearance has also occurred. This Mulga Biogeographical Region occupies some 19 000 000 ha, extending from St George in the east to the South Australian border; and north from the New South Wales border to Longreach (see Figure 4). The Mulga Land Use Advisory Group noted that a survey undertaken in 1985 of a sample 3 000 000 ha in the Mulga Region revealed that mulga was overused or excessively cleared on some 2 370 000 ha or 79 per cent of the area. This finding is consistent with other studies that have shown some two-thirds of the Mulga Region exhibits evidence of active land degradation (MLUAG 1992).

Recent and current situation
Widespread native vegetation clearance is still taking place in Queensland. Recent clearing has been most extensive in the northern and north-western parts of the Brigalow Belt, and in the southern and north-eastern parts of the Desert Uplands. This has focussed primarily on gidgee (Acacia cambagei), blackwood (A. argyrodendron) and remnant brigalow communities (A. harpophylla), and on a variety of eucalypt communities. In the Brigalow Belt the eucalypt most cleared is poplar box (E. populnea) and iron bark (E. crebra and E. drepanophylla) while silver-leaved iron bark (E. melanophioia and E. whitei) and yellow jacket (E. similis) are most affected in the Desert Uplands. Acacia communities around the eastern margin of the Mitchell Grass Downs are also greatly affected (QLDDEH 1995b).

Ongoing clearing in the remainder of the Brigalow Belt, in the Mulga Lands, south-east Queensland and the lowlands of the Wet Tropics and the Central Mackay Coast is less extensive but is focussing on remnant vegetation and hence is no less significant for biodiversity protection (QLDDEH 1995b).

Recently clearing has increased in the Cloncurry area, in both the Gulf Plains and the northern part of the Mitchell Grass Downs, with gidgee communities most affected (QLDDEH 1995b)."Unquote.

To me the analogy is like we are trying to restore an eroding Bondi Beach. Down the south end of the beach we are each carrying our grain of sand to restore the beach BUT meanwhile up at the north end there is a D9 bulldozer pushing the sand back into the sea.

We have LOST forever those plants that may have been capable of restoring our degrading landscapes.

It is now time to practice the UN stated postion of "there is no fundamental difference between natural, wild or modified, semi-natural or developed, domesticated or purely artifical vegetations. The laws governing these ecosystems are identical"

Shirley Henderson
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United- strength in numbers

Postby Shirley Henderson » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:05 pm

Thanks again for your quick reply. I am certain we are on the same track. We all have to keep chipping away at the stone and the more the merrier.
regards
Shirley
Last edited by Shirley Henderson on Sat Nov 03, 2007 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Angela Helleren
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Postby Angela Helleren » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:30 pm

Primary Colonisers?

I suspect the best chance of finding out would be to approach Aboriginal Elders of the various regions. Those old enough to remember the natural past.

A quick search - http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/ar ... 01428.html
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

duane
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Postby duane » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:28 pm

Thanks Shirley and Angela for teasing this one out....way back when I worked in conjunction with Len Webb and Geoff Tracy they were a two man division of CSIRO Division of Rain Forest Research. They started working together in 1950 mapping and identifying every rainforest community from mid coast NSW to the tip of Cape York.

I was involved with them from 1972 -1975 whilst working in NQ and they were appalled at how fast the rate of removal of the gene pools of these plant communities was occuring.

I need to find my old field notes to get the details but I can remember Len saying we has lost untold plant treasures....for ever.

But I will check out the site and I think it a great idea Angela to seek the help of the original custodians of our land.

Let's see if we can do some good detective work....anyone out there in blog land have any knowledge about these missing links???

Angela Helleren
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Postby Angela Helleren » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:36 am

Many hands make light work.

Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.

Back to basics.

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

KEW seed bank

Postby Shirley Henderson » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:50 pm

Hi Angela,
Isn't that funny, your website directed me to a book I purchased yesterday. Native grasses for temperate Australia. Cant wait to read it. Another interesting website is www.kew.org There is Kew gardens in England collecting and researching seed from all over the world. Creating a seedbank in case of species extinction or worse. The seed bank is housed in a huge shelter built to even withstand bombs. I know of this because I live near Mount Annan Botanic Gardens and take up opportunities to learn from them when I can. They too are associated with KEW and are involved in collecting and storing seed from Australia. What is amazing is that some Australian Native seeds can have a life up to hundreds of years many 50 or more. Unfortunately it is the smaller more delicate plants such as herbs and ferns that do not have a long life in the soil. It is good to know that there is such a system as this trying to conserve plant species for our future in case mankind continues the way we have been going. Keep up the good work and communication lines open! :)
regards
Shirley

Angela Helleren
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Postby Angela Helleren » Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:51 am

:D Thanks for your link Shirley.
I find this interesting http://www.kew.org/msbp/news/green_chemistry.htm but I also have concerns.
Some time back I saw a report that there was an Australian Programme doing a similar collection of seeds which as long as it is to study the properties for a better understanding of the natural role they play in a system is fine.
My only concern is when corporations enter the picture and with minor manipulations, can take out patents on the seeds.
Having a natural seed bank is wonderful, but if needed to rejuvenate an area in a country that allows GM seeds, it would put at risk it's natural status. Farmers in the US have already been sued by Corporations where their crops have been contaminated by nearby GM farms. It's not difficult to see how easily seeds can be carried by winds, birds or tyres from one property to another. It need not be in large quantities to be deemed an infringment on patents. The laws back the profiteers not the natural farmers or the environment.
The manipulation often means that the seed is only viable for 1 crop so the next year the farmer has to buy more rather than use seeds saved from the previous crop.
I hope the primary colonisers in our landscape can be identified, and protected, along with all our native plants.
Many hands make light work.

Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.

Back to basics.

Shirley Henderson
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm
Location: Thirlmere

KEW

Postby Shirley Henderson » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:51 am

Hello again Angela and thanks for taking interest in KEW. I attended a short seminar on Kew when the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens became involved with the project. I believe the main reason for this seed bank is for conservation purposes only. Apparently they already hold seeds that they believe the original plants are already extinct in the wild. They aim to preserve the seeds especially of threatened species and those endangered as well as the rest. The Australian natives are mind boggling to many as there are so many factors involved in their germination. It is unknown why some germinate and others do not. Others are difficult to germiante and trials are carried out to learn how to grow them. The research is mainly for these reasons, to gain this knowledge before it is too late. The Botanic gardens here have reached an agreement with the Botainc gardens in England to this effect. It is always a bit frighteneing to think that someone could have control over this but seed saving is very important and better to risk saving that not save at all. Human kind also has a say in what happens. The Botanic gardens is not a private organisation but a trusted source of plant knowledge, education and conservation. I know we have come far off the track from Natural Sequence farming in this discussion and I have not meant to do that. So to finish my note I would like to express that I am a very strong supporter of Peter Andrews work as well and I am sure the willow seeds will be in KEW somewhwere. I might try to find that out and post it. :idea:
Shirley


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