Tag Archives: herbicide poisoning

Steam weeding.

Unpredictable weather. Volatile, dark clouds gather and as quickly as formed, disperse.   Humidity has made lantana slashing too difficult for more than an hour. Litres of water needed. Repaired the gravity line and saw a blue yabbie. Its senses so alert and although we were 2 metres away from it, it soon retreated under the rocks. My photos were all blurry unfortunately.

Good to see the steam weeding on full display on Mullumbimby streets. Town day was friendly. Followed on from my shopping, toured the valleys on the mail run with Jayne. Saw hectares of poisoned camphor trees which I will photograph at the weekend. Thanks to the rain but lightening strikes are now a possibility with most nights displaying flashes and bolts of lightening.


The gardens have flourished since the 300 mls of rain. Broccoli re sprouting, kale abundant and the zuchini are producing. All the above into a salad dressed with orange juice, cider vinegar and mustard with macadamia oil.

Jayne joined me with her difficult week continuing.  Her Dad’s funeral on Thursday. The mail still has to be delivered and she has had to find approved replacements.

A gentle evening with the Lewin Honey eater coming to our dinner table and helping itself to a pineapple and oranges I had just prepared for the ice cream later. That made us smile.

My night walks around the gardens I see the carpet snakes poised for a snack. They seem to avoid the cane toads and target the Great Bard  and Green Tree frog.

Great Barred Frog.

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Richmond River

The Richmond River catchment is the sixth largest in New South Wales and covers an area of nearly 7,000 square kilometres in the north of the state.

It was once a thriving, heavily timbered forest, but since European settlement it has changed dramatically.

The banks of the river are now home to intensive agriculture, grazing, and urban development, which Rous County Council chairman Keith Williams said had long been blamed for killing the river.

“We all thought the river was bad five to 10 years ago,” he said.

“But when all the oysters at the mouth of the river died, the entire estuary — hundreds and thousands of oysters — they just died all at once.

“It’s like a slap in the face and you suddenly realise, this water and the river is not fit for marine creatures to live in anymore. So there’s got to be something majorly wrong.”

Coral tree poisoning, Wilson Creek.





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Town day yesterday. Extremely humid and uncomfortable at times.

A local business owner called to me that he supports our herbicide free efforts and then recounted seeing in the last weeks, contractors hosing out herbicide onto drain edges from their ute’s cabin.

So following it was a moment of relief to see Council workers hand weeding garden beds in town. The first time I have seen that after years of sprayers doing the gardening.

But soon disappointed again, to see wide-spread herbicide use along the country roads and right down into water courses. Opposite Wilson Creek School too, patches of dead foliage. Further on the sculptural skeletons of the injected with poison coral trees ( pictured below)  along the edge of Wilson Creek.  Next stage we will see the skeleton of the poisoned tree turn black and fall into the running catchment water.

Surely the same labour time to whipper snip where they spray and as I looked closely at sprayed foliage the target plants are already re sprouting.

Natural Weed Control – 5 Non-Toxic Methods You Need to Know




Another fact will be the displacement of the many nectar seeking birds that have now been deprived of an essential winter food source from the Coral tree.


Below two photos from here to cheer me up. Photo of the Coral tree flower and the Honey eater feasting taken by Rodney Weidland.






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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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On the contrary to the recent orthodoxy of herbicide use.

With another grant flowing into the local land-care it is time the conventional recent up-take of herbicides in regeneration is seriously challenged.

Discontent amongst many locals at the use of herbicides- along-side sealed and gravel roads- up steep banks where tobacco and lantana are sprayed- is seeing an increase in frustrated resentment.

Cat-fish are being found dead in the creeks and there is also the mystery deaths of 2 platypus. All near heavily herbicide areas. Along-side of the visible damage, the question of the run-off of the herbicides used into the creeks where some residents take their domestic water from.





With all the described toxic effects of glyphosate, it becomes imperative to assess the level of contamination of the water supplies, our source of drinking water. Recent research in Catalonia, Spain, revealed widespread contamination of their groundwater [103]. In the US, glyphosate has been detected in rain and air samples [104].

Research recently performed in Germany detected glyphosate in the urine of all tested Berlin city residents, including one person who had been eating organic food for over 10 years [105]. Levels reached 5-20 times the established permitted level in drinking water in the EU. Even those who live away from farming areas are not protected. Glyphosate was previously found in urine samples of farm workers at concentrations shown to have caused endocrine disruption.
Sourced from Permaculture News.



Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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A town visit.

Visited Lismore yesterday and stumbled across a mid-day meeting of like minded people making it clear the gagging laws introduced in Tasmania are unacceptable.


Disappointed to see the banks of the Wilson River in Lismore scorched by herbicide, in some parts right down to the edges of the water. Odd when such a large proportion of Lismore’s population support environmental best practice as a priority yet allow herbicides to be used in public spaces and so near water courses in their city. What about volunteer actions groups?

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Town day.

Mullumbimby town day. Starry sky when I walked out at 5 45 am, day slowly breaking but when I arrived in town heavy cloud cover and a shower. Over breakfast in my favourite town café, newspapers providing laughs at the satire emerging from our ideology driven male politician’s public statements. Satire always illuminates when single minded people get elected.

As I travelled through the valley, took photos of drains that had been sprayed. No life existed in the remaining puddles of water. Yesterday I watched a French documentary on SBS which followed a group of French scientists into a remaining forested valley in Madagascar, a country with very few trees left. There they looked for all life, what was living in water holding mosses, a habitat for a myriad of minute life, to observing for the first time, the bamboo lemur. One scientist likened our rampaging advance to a aircraft’s wing which is held together by thousands of rivets. If one or two rivets become loose the plane will still fly, loose more and the wing becomes unstable to eventually collapsing. The scientist likened what we are doing as humans, as we encroach with land clearing and what industrialisation entails, the planet is losing another rivet every day.
An example of lack of co-operation between the Brunswick Chemical Free Dune Care group and National parks is happening out on the coast. Why don’t National parks and land-care groups start working with the volunteers who give their time to regenerate with-out herbicides ? It is a waste of the genuine commitment that the volunteers are displaying by their actions. Along-side of what they are actually observing at what is happening at ground level, its healthy and satisfying real work. All sites that have been sprayed reveal very limited micro life at soil level. The decision makers should work along-side the Chemical Free workers and learn by observing. Opportunity too for Federal Government to direct their proposed green action towards those young people who would benefit training with Chemical Free Regenerators. Rewarding and very satisfying work, both mentally and physically.


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Following 18 mls of rain.

Clear blue sky today, Sunday. It has followed gentle showers, consistent from Friday night. Snakes and goannas still active. The python, who has taken up permanent residence in the old wood-stove, stretched out this morning in full sun. A goanna in the hen house too and its mid-June, sleepy time usually for both goannas and snakes.
The Monarch caterpillars rushing to eat the remaining cotton leaf. I will soon see if this late rush to cocoon is doomed for those caterpillars still eating. What ever comes first, no more food or colder weather.

This beauty crawled out of the oranges I picked up off the ground.

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2 platypus bodies were found near herbicide poisoned coral trees in the next valley to here during the week-end. I hope we can find out the reason for their deaths.

Unfortunately the poisoning of the coral trees along river banks is continuing unabated. There has to be a better way land-care, with-out the addiction to herbicides.

Another odd development here too this year is the number of dead cane toads I have found in my gardens. No sign of external injury so I would like to find out what is happening to them.
This is a herbicide sprayed and injected site near here. Most of the run-off with our recent rains will be widely distributed, eventually out into the ocean.

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