Tag Archives: Fred Pearce. Richard Mabey

A comment I wrote a year ago.

 

This comment I wrote in the Guardian a year ago was posted back to me today, with compliments, by a Green group in the USA.

24 Recommend

Caring for our wild-life and nature is beyond most Australians. Our cities sprawl, our houses are too big, modern media is full of ads urging us to buy more rubbish or renovate every couple of years. Our cooking shows are all about imported and local produce which all seem to be about gluttony.

Most people who do want to do something think applying a poison to an ‘invasive’ species on our flora is the cure.

Few have bothered to look at how many birds ect have adapted to our changing environment which gathered pace as soon as Europeans set foot on this land.

We work methodically here with a brush hook and machete slashing and mulching lantana. Slowly, because we witness what we see and gradually so adaptation for the creature who uses the so called invasive can relocate. Getting the right worker is the problem. Physical activity is more likely to be watched on a screen or played out in a gym.

I see how our efforts here over 20 years have brought more birds, more wallabies, more snakes, lizards ect to occupy this end of the valley.

When the introduced Coral trees were poisoned down our valleys I watch many more honey eaters, lorikeets flock into my remaining Coral trees for the winter flowering.

Now the camphor is being targeted with glyphosate poisoning despite the camphor now being a major source of food and habitat for many birds, butterflies and insects. Video footage of koalas feasting on the camphor leaves proves adaptation means survival.

Short sighedness, easy short term feel good approaches and funds, which favour herbicide use, is a major contributor to our environments rapid decline.

I recommend Fred Pearce’s THE NEW WILD where he documents the niches and evolution introduced plants are playing in the niches human activity has provided.

And it can be done as we witness here but it will depend on real on the ground physical labour as it was done when the first red cedar worker came and removed all the hard wood a century ago.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Camphor Laurel. (Cinnamomum camphora )

The arguments for and against camphor laurel are once again being aired. This, I think reflects more about how humans live at such odds with each other, with the environment only as a vague back drop.

I had 20 established and immature camphors growing here when I returned to the property 22 years ago.  I chopped them down and then continued by touring these stumps every 3 weeks when I would break off any new growth. Within a year most stumps had succumbed and had begun to break down. This approach had 2 major advantages, I wasn’t poisoning the soil – as camphor roots can extend 30 metres in any direction and any poison used will carry to the roots extent, ( any sprouting from these extended roots I broke off ). The other advantage was that I was able to closely observe what was beginning to grow around the disabled camphor. As more moisture was made available rain forest seeds, such as pencil and red cedar, celery wood and tamarind, sprouted.  Now, with the decline of the white-headed pigeon in this valley over the last 5 years, I am not seeing any camphor seedlings beneath where the pigeons roosted.  If I now see a lone camphor in the rain forest I leave it,  simply because the surrounding canopy will contain it.

I probably wouldn’t remove the camphor trees now as I did way back then.  There was so much misinformation peddled and its only been my acceptance of observing nature as my teacher over the years I see how wrong some of my earlier approaches to regeneration were.  A 1788er then, an idealized vision of “how it was” was so smug and arrogant. Nature is always in flux and with the vast niches humans created with our rush to turn Australia into some European ideal, its great that there are species to fill those niches and protect what is left of our fragile soil.

With their naturalization in this Shire, the camphor laurels existence has provided survival for many birds whom Europeans deprived of their original food source when whole sale clearance began of the native forests.

Any growing tree is storing carbon. Also, scientists who have studied the insect life existing from the camphor, have found a great variety. When we were removing jump-seed from the public road sides, to prevent whole sale spraying with herbicides, we were often accompanied by the Black cockatoo with their young who feast on the ripening fruit.

What I find difficult in the local argument is why haven’t we established small-scale milling enterprises ?  With imported wood now surrounded by environmental, ethical and sustainability questions, why aren’t we sustainably harvesting camphor for domestic furniture plus and returning the land to either food production or new forest ?

As Stephen Jay Gould said ( one of the planet’s great evolutionary biologists) ‘ punctuated equilibrium’, and that evolution wasn’t a continual process but happened mostly in bursts after major disruptions. He went on to say that ecologists were wrong to see anything as innately superior about stable ecosystems because disruption was essential to evolution. It provided chances for new species to evolve. Similarly, the notion that’ native must be best, for native has been honed to optimality in the refiner’s fire of Darwinian competition’ was a ‘persuasive misreading of natural selection, and an evolutionary fallacy.

Fred Pearce.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Myths of the Pristine………………Fred Pearce.

We live in what geologists are now calling the new Anthropocene, an epoch in which the planet is shaped primarily by humans. We need to get used to it. But we shouldn’t be depressed. For while one lesson of the Anthropocene is that nothing is pristine, another is that nature is resilient and resourceful. And while many endangered species are vulnerable to our activities, others like us. Humankind is not always bad news for nature. Some forests died, but others grew up to replace them. By breeding some species as crops and livestock, we increased the genetic diversity. And by moving species around the world ( as humans have been doing for thousands of years ) we have dramatically increased local biodiversity on a local level and which may have sometimes triggered a burst of evolution.

my-walk-to-work,-regeneration-zone-4

 

We have assaulted forests on a huge scale, yet where we have walked away, they have generally revived. This is especially true in the tropics, the area of our greatest current environmental concern. ” So called virgin forests have in fact undergone substantial prehistoric modification” says Kathy Willis. ” tropical forest eco systems are not as fragile as often potrayed, are in fact quite resilient. Left for long enough, forests will almost certainely regenerate”. There is, she says, no reason why that should not remain the case in the 21st century. The new forests won’t be pristine. But then, they never were.

From Myths of the Pristine.   THE NEW WILD      Fred Pearce.

In our present regeneration working site, as we unpeel the layers of lantana, tiny emerging rain forest are visible where a little light has been able to get through. In the site where we slashed, layered and pulled lantana last year, already a mass of scotch thistle, farmers friends and Giant devils claw ( remove the root of this one ) have flowered, and seeded, in the case of the thistle. I remove what ever maybe too close to an emerging rain forest tree and leave the rest for ground cover.  Next year, when the red, white and pencil cedars plus 10 more varieties of rain forest tree, have establish canopy ( yes, growth is incredibly fast ) another layer of introduced plants will colonize where the thistles ect grew. Within 5 years canopy shade will block out most introduced plants. Just as lantana filled the niche overgrazing and tree removal provided, now the thistle ect are the next plant stage which is nourishing and protecting our remaining soil.

nests-or-mistletow

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/27/di-natale-greens-coalition-government-national-press-club

And Denmark’s new tax.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/denmark-ethics-council-calls-for-tax-on-red-meat-to-fight-ethical-problem-of-climate-change-a7003061.html

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Follow up and Fred Pearce’s Nature in a World of Humans.

Second day of the new cooler herbicide free bush regeneration season. Getting into the rhythm with a keen eye as we progress through earlier slashed, pulled and layered mulch sites. Emerging red cedars, white cedars, pencil cedars, bangalow palms, tamarinds, rosewoods, eucalypts, all strong as they reach through the mulched and decaying lantana from last winters slash. Interesting too, the Giant devil’s Fig, patches of up to 10 in what was full lantana cover last year which was slashed. Easily removed with the hoe or mattock. No drones with herbicides will have a reason to come here, that is if we let the government  play the devil with our ecology.

april-5-work-area

In Fred Pearce’s introduction to THE NEW WILD,  he writes and I quote, “rogue rats, predatory jellyfish, suffocating super weeds, snakehead fish wriggling across the land——–alien species are taking over. Nature’s vagabonds, ruffians and carpetbaggers are headed for an ecosystem near you. These biological adventurers are travelling the world in even greater numbers, hitchhiking in our hand luggage, hidden in cargo holds, stuck to the bottom of ships and migrating in greater numbers to keep up with climate change. Our modern, human dominated world of globalized trade and messed up eco systems is giving foot loose species many more chances to cruise the planet and set up home in distant lands. Some run riot, destroying local species, trashing habitat and spreading disease.

We all like a simple story with good guys and bad guys. And alien’s always make the easiest enemy.

parent-red-cedar

Conservationists have for half a century been battling to hold back the aliens. They call them the second biggest threat to nature, after habitat loss. That concern is laudable. They want to protect native species and the ecosystems they inhabit. But do we fear these ecological outsiders too much? Is our fear usually little more than green xenophobia? Most of us are appalled when foreigners are treated as somehow intrinsically dangerous. Yet the orthodoxy in conservation is to demonize foreign species in just that way”.

blog-1

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/04/climate-change-will-blow-a-25tn-hole-in-global-financial-assets-study-warns

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Friday. April 1.

Early town visit with Lil in the old ute that used to live here.

Busy 3 hours, saw 3 friends I haven’t seen for a while.

Letter from Far North Coast weeds on the Giant Devil’s fig, classified as a  Class 3 noxious weed. I chop them down to ground level when I come across them and follow up with the removal of new shoots. They succumb readily.  Easy to pull out when small, tougher as they mature due to their spikes. I tried to pull one out on a bridge coming home. Wedged between a crack in the concrete, it was impossible to remove entirely before breaking it off at the base. If poisoned, the running water beneath would be the eventual recipient.

Obviously, due to the wide spread of the Giant Devil’s Fig , it is providing food for our dwindling birds and bats.

The book I have been waiting for arrived.

the-new-wild

With endorsement from James Lovelock.

James-Lovelock

 

Why do we treat our providers of protein in such a harsh, cruel way ?  Anyone who has kept hens will know they are far more savvy than is portrayed.

 

http://www.echo.net.au/2016/04/govts-bad-eggs-on-free-range

Poppy-and-cila

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sunday and its raining again.

abundant-avo-season

Avocadoes have had a great growing year. The garden is rushing towards (hopefully) cooler weather. Or is it?

Below, my first effort at making guava and tamarillo jam. Tastes good but hasn’t set as I hoped.

Found the tea towel in a charity shop, still as true today as when it was printed in the ultra nasty years of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen years.

still-relervant

The New Wild

Author…..   Fred Pearce…..    Publisher Icon Books (2015) ISBN9781848318342   Description … Why invasive species will be nature’s salvation

Veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce used to think of invasive species as evil interlopers spoiling pristine ‘natural’ ecosystems. Most conservationists would agree. But what if traditional ecology is wrong, and true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders? In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey to rediscover what conservation should really be about. He explores ecosystems from Pacific islands to the Australian outback to the Thames estuary, digs into the questionable costs of invader species, and reveals the outdated intellectual sources of our ideas about the balance of nature. Keeping out alien species looks increasingly flawed. The new ecologists looking afresh at how species interact in the wild believe we should celebrate the dynamism of alien species and the novel ecosystems they create. In an era of climate change and widespread ecological damage, we must find ways to help nature regenerate. Embracing the ‘new wild’ is our best chance.

https://www.facebook.com/TheWeedsNetwork

Overwhelming majority of Germans contaminated by glyphosate

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mum and her joey.

The mother and her joey have been coming in close to the cabin.

mum-and-joey

More herbicide free volunteers walking the walk.

Hi Everyone,

We will be removing weeds from native plantings on SE side of the boardwalk entrance.

We will be replacing decking, and an insectivorous nesting box and removing leaves from boardwalk.

Please wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing from sun and mosquitoes.

Drinks will be available.

Hope to see you there

Sharon

This email has been sent from a virus-free computer protected by Avast. www.avast.com

Attachments area

Preview attachment REGEN FLYER email 7feb12.PDF

Oh, its happening but who really cares?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/dangerous-global-warming-will-happen-sooner-than-thought-study

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-New-Wild-Invasive-Salvation/dp/1848318340

The New Wild

Author…..   Fred Pearce…..    Publisher Icon Books (2015) ISBN9781848318342   Description … Why invasive species will be nature’s salvation

Veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce used to think of invasive species as evil interlopers spoiling pristine ‘natural’ ecosystems. Most conservationists would agree. But what if traditional ecology is wrong, and true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders? In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey to rediscover what conservation should really be about. He explores ecosystems from Pacific islands to the Australian outback to the Thames estuary, digs into the questionable costs of invader species, and reveals the outdated intellectual sources of our ideas about the balance of nature. Keeping out alien species looks increasingly flawed. The new ecologists looking afresh at how species interact in the wild believe we should celebrate the dynamism of alien species and the novel ecosystems they create. In an era of climate change and widespread ecological damage, we must find ways to help nature regenerate. Embracing the ‘new wild’ is our best chance.

appearing-at-the-turn-off-Wilson-Creek-Road

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized