Tag Archives: chemical free land-care

The beginning of summer.

Gale force winds, trees discarding leaves and birds and reptiles seeking water.

Smoke haze filled the valley casting a dark blue shadow. Then a storm, lightening and thunder at 9 pm.

A good relieved sleep followed.

Dave arrived at 6 30am,  slashers sharpened, gloves on and water in our back backs.

Back into zone 34 in a follow up few hours. Another amazing light hour as the softer morning sun, still veiled with smoke haze, cast its light in many colours.

The bush fire has been reported as being started by campers.

We started early, spotting rain forest seedlings emerging, a variety amongst the wild raspberry and the odd sprouting lantana, regrowth from the original slashing, pulling and mulching. We removed the lantana and ventured further west. Good site for summer work follow up, emerging canopy with spots of lantana growth. Shade until sun becomes too hot to work. Coopers Creek nearby.

Young  Red cedars abundant rushing to fill the canopy gaps.

A highly toxic weedkiller not authorised for use in the EU is being exported to developing countries from a UK factory.

Paraquat, a pesticide so lethal that a single sip can be fatal, has caused thousands of accidental deaths and suicides globally, and was outlawed by EU states in 2007.

But Swiss pesticide manufacturer Syngenta is exporting thousands of tonnes of the substance to other parts of the world from an industrial plant in Huddersfield

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Autumn’s last days.

Time is zipping by with my town day on Friday beginning with my walk out of the valley bordered by a glimmering sparkle of glow worms.

Always starts my day in a positive way.


Long day which saw Jayne and I ending up here for me to then burn the dinner. What a disaster. plum-and-currant-biscuits.gifBut the biscuits compensated. Yummy too.

But night ended well with the table turned over for art work and some ‘herbicide and water don’t mix ‘signs prepared and plum, pineapple and chilli and lime jams cooked in the kitchen.

Sunday back into the rain forest and we joined up an emerging forest ( cleared and slashed lantana 10 years ago ). Now a varied indigenous rain-forest with rosewoods and abundant bangalow palms.  All self seeded too.


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Poison use.

As we resume our hand weeding of jump-seed follow up along the edge of our public road, a couple of observations that are becoming more obvious as we continue. The strips that have been previously sprayed with Round-up (glyphosate) the regrowth is vigorous and lankier. Also there is a distinct absence of fungi’s and worms. Further beyond, next to the public road and where Round-up has not been sprayed there are frogs and native water plants thriving.


Photo from the Independent UK.

Glyphosate (GLY) is a herbicide that is widely used in agriculture and land-care for

weed control. Although reports about the impact of GLY in snails,

crustaceans and amphibians exist, few studies have investigated its sublethal effects in non target organisms such as the honeybee (Apis mellifera), the main pollen vector in commercial crops. Here we tested

whether exposure to three sublethal concentrations of GLY (2.5, 5 and 10mg, corresponding to 0.125,0.250 and 0.500 g per


animal) affects the homeward flight path of honeybees in an open

field. We performed an experiment in which forager honeybees were

trained to an artificial feeder, and then captured, fed with sugar

solution containing traces of GLYand released from a novel site either

once or twice. Their homeward trajectories were tracked using

harmonic radar technology. We found that honeybees that had been

fed with solution containing 10 mg l1 GLY spent more time

performing homeward flights than control bees or bees treated with

lower concentrations. They also performed more indirect homing

flights. Moreover, the proportion of direct homeward flights performed

after a second release from the same site increased in control bees

but not in treated bees. These results suggest that, in honeybees,

exposure to levels of GLY commonly found in agricultural settings

impairs the cognitive capacities needed to retrieve and integrate

spatial information for a successful return to the hive. Therefore,

honeybee navigation is affected by ingesting traces of the most widely

used herbicide worldwide, with potential long-term negative

consequences for colony foraging success.

KEY WORDS: Apis mellifera, Glyphosate, Sublethal

Read more at The Journal of Experimental Biology.

In other words the wide spread use we are now seeing with this herbicide and probably many others are a major factor in the alarming decline of our bee population.


Photo by Rodney Weidland taken here . A honey eater enjoying a coral tree flower during the winter flowering season when there are few native flowering trees.

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Slash and mulch.

Slowly but bit by bit the restoration is proceeding.

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Gathering momentum.



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Stinging tree.

The stinging tree (Dendrocnide excels) is sparsely distributed here in existing rainforest and in some areas of disturbed or lantana cleared areas. A beautiful tree to look up to from below but a tree that I learnt, by painful exposure, to never touch. It took three months at least before the pain and sting subsided when I first encountered its leaf. See photo below.

On an ABC 3  an English nature doco on Friday night, the presenter was here in Australia and was suitably gowned and face masked up before touching the Stinging tree’s leaves but his protection wasn’t enough for him not to get stung, luckily for him his team had on hand, ( a valueable bit of advice for me and my workers )  the common hair removal waxing strips, available from chemists, as a ready and effective remedy.
Family: Urticaceae.

Some welcome local news. Another herbicide free group of local residents are to begin taking care of their road frontages, therefore removing the Council’s spasmodic contracted spraying programme.


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Environment last.

A binge budget, no mention of the environment while we are told to go out and buy more “Made in China” destined for an early land-fill.
Consultants brought in by Council for a Weed Discussion while our volunteers continue our jump-seed follow up.

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Jumpseed removal.

6 hours of labour from Jayne and myself as we mattocked out jumpseed from 70 metres of road-side public land. Great effort and it was a good restart following the haphazard spraying of glyphosate plus during late 2014.
Before photo.
View of regrowth of jumpseed following numerous applications of herbicide proving resistance and waste.
Eileen White attended after her morning effort at the Brunswick Chemical-free working bee along the dunes. Eileen has kindly volunteered to attend to the paper work that is required by Byron Shire Council for volunteering in areas the public needs to lead the way.


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Walking out at day break.


Viewed this flowering mistletoe


Hello to the Tyagarah residents and other chemical free landcare people!

We will again meet on Saturday 01.11.2014 to work on the Tyagarah dunes to remove Bitou Bush.
We aim to mainly pull seedlings to prevent new growth. The areas in which the Bitou had been removed, are thriving with lots of native vegetation emerging.
It is a fun day for young and old and a good exercise for the body.
Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water to drink, picnic and beach gear.

For more information please call Nadia 0428183010
Might see you on Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm
Aparimit, Gerd Kuhlmann


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Educating by example.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next working bee will be on Saturday the 10th of May, from 9 am till 1:30 pm, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of South Beach Road fire track gate. If you come later, walk along the dog walking track to the beach, head South for 50 m and you will spot us lopping Bitou bush on the front dune. We have completed the follow-up on the 4.75ha. We are now ready to finish off our primary work and new volunteers our welcome. We have 15 pairs of loppers, so if you have some spare time and want to learn how to restore the dunes using chemical-free strategy please come and join us.

Please wear boots, a long-sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water, a picnic and beach gear. More information please email byronshirechemicalfreelandcare@gmail.com or go to http://www.byronshirechemicalfreelandcare.org

A poison blamed for killing hundreds of native birds in New South Wales this week is sprayed on apples, pears, grapes and some stone fruits in WA.
Products containing the insecticide fenthion – used to control fruit fly and other pests – were suspended from use on food producing plants from October 2012 after chemical residue levels were found to be an “unacceptable dietary risk for children and the general population”.
But weeks after the suspension was announced, and following strong backlash from orchardists, officials amended licences allowing its use on crops under new conditions.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/birdkilling-poison-sprayed-on-wa-fruit-20140313-34pkj.html#ixzz314AuGJ6q

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