River health upstream in a degraded state.


RICHMOND RIVER, as it flows into the ocean at Ballina, recently received an F rating.

One just has to tour our back roads in Byron Shire to witness herbicides being used on drain edges and on the banks of streams. Beneath fence lines and around letter boxes. I can smell it sometimes.

The coral tree eradication, carried out by land-care?  has seen dozens of poisoned trees fall into the running water.

If we are serious about the environment, as many of us say we are,  then there would be a concerted campaign to reverse the serious decline in our rivers health.

Cattle fenced off, homes collecting their domestic water ( probably a lot healthier) from their roof, are only two of many ways we can start to reverse this serious decline in our river’s health.

Herbicide use in Byron Shire.






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Public Meeting tonight in Lismore. Time to Restore our rivers Health.



The Richmond River at Ballina was rated a poor F in a 2015 Eco Health Report. All our local creeks run out to the ocean somewhere.

Help to clean them up. Get herbicides out of land-care  now.

Meeting at The Fountain Room at Lismore City hall at 6 pm on Wednesday 22nd of February.

Richmond River Room, adjacent to BALLINA library on the 23rd of February  6pm.

At the head water of Coopers Creek.

A herbicide free Zone.




Consideration of Poisoning of Coral Trees at Wilsons and Coopers Creek

There is information (see below) that nitrogen fixing trees such as the Coral tree naturally appear in great numbers in wet areas, particularly wetlands, so their appearance alongside creeks is a natural occurrence. People wishing to poison them need to be asked why they are resisting the regeneration obviously being carried out by the coral trees in that the trees volunteer to add more nitrogen to the soil than if the coral trees were not there? They also need to be asked whether they are aware that parrots in particular feed from its flowers? Coral trees, like camphors and wattles are pioneers. They improve soil and shade levels for climax communities. These pioneers can all be expected to go into recession when they are shaded out by the climax communities.
Our chemical-free method of bush regeneration is to leave the coral trees alone and see them as a benefit. Native trees are planted among them to take advantage of their nitrogen. Branches can be lopped strategically from the coral trees to allow in light if that is preferred. Lopped branches are stacked in pyramid fashion so they are not in contact with soil to prevent the branches re-sprouting.

If poisoning of the trees takes place without replacing them with other nitrogen fixing trees, their removal is obviously land degradation practice. The culture we live in has a pathological resistance to returning organic matter to soil (see appended article, Biodiversity conservation and soil organic matter), and the removal of trees that volunteer to fix nitrogen can be seen as the continuation of the culture’s resistance to provisioning soil. Replacing them is not just a case of one tree planted for every tree removed, it is a case of planting the amount of biomass removed. It is far easier, and in accord with the regeneration that the coral trees offer, to just plant natives among them.
The following may be of interest in regard to coral trees

“A German chemist, Fritz Haber, won the Nobel Prize in 1918 for discovering a method by which nitrogen could be obtained from the atmosphere, of which it forms about four-fifths. His discovery enabled Germany to fight World War 1 in spite of being cut off from the only previously known supplies of commercial nitrogen fertilizer, chiefly guano deposits. Ever since then, men have been able to get all the nitrogen they need from the air.

“Jungles knew all about it, and legumes too, millions of years before there were men. On soils deficient in nutritive elements, the tropical rain forest grows a great number of leguminous plants; they can be, and often are, the very biggest of jungle trees, such as the huge tropical acacias. It has been recorded that in two British Guiana jungle areas, which were either swampy and waterlogged or even more badly leached than usual, more than half of all the trees were of this type. In three other areas nearby, neither as badly leached nor as marshy, the proportion of leguminous trees ranged only from 14 to 33 percent.” [Ivan Sanderson’s Book of Great Jungles Julian Messner, New York, 1965, pp. 104, 105.]

We occupy a sub-tropical region rather than tropical. Nevertheless, this region because of land-clearing suffers major loss of nutrients through leaching. Coral trees, as leguminous trees in this region are also not engaged in growing above canopy height unlike what leguminous trees appear to do in the tropics. In sub-tropical areas we can expect the coral trees as sun-lover to die out as the native canopy closes. Even if they do not, is that a major problem with a strong native canopy? If it is a problem purely on the basis that coral trees are not native, then I would suggest it is a prejudice toward the plant world not unlike that ascribed to ethnic cleansing of humans.

Furthermore, Monsanto does not disappear from protest. It has less impact the more it is not subscribed to.


Geoff Dawe.



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