Tag Archives: herbicides and pesticides

From the Byron Shire Echo.


Insurer warns councils over use of Roundup

Hans Lovejoy

Recent findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO) into the key ingredient in world’s top selling chemical weed killer, Roundup, has been supported by the NSW councils’ insurer.

It’s prompted calls for risk assessment reviews and a ‘cautious approach’ of its use throughout the state’s local governments.

StateCover, who are ‘Local Government’s Workers Compensation Insurer’ says ‘that formulations containing glyphosate, including ‘Roundup’ and other similar products, were assessed as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, according to a WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report.

Roundup is the flagship product of controversial US corporation Monsanto, who also produce genetically modified foods and ‘terminator’ seeds. The company has a long history of attempting to control the global food market through patent laws.

The StateCover internal memo to councils say WHO’s findings ‘contrasts with information included in existing safety data sheets, which indicate the relative safety of the chemical.’

‘Australian regulators, including Safe Work Australia and WorkCover NSW have not provided advice or direction relating to the use of glyphosate at this time.

However, given this new information, it is recommended that councils take a cautious approach and investigate their use of glyphosate and other hazardous chemicals used for weed control.’

The position taken has been welcomed by Nadia de Souza Pietramale from Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare. She told Echonetdaily, ‘It is great to see a drop of accountability.’


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From Geoff Dawe.

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.

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72 mls of rain.

Over 150 mls of rain over the last few days, in August too which is unusual. Rain this constant is the norm from January on. Later than May is highly at odds with regular readings in the rain gauge. Also a lone monarch butterfly sitting on a mustard flower which I have never seen this late in the last days of winter.

It is thought the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus ) first appeared in Queensland in the 1870s. Speculation then was it had migrated from Brazil under their own wing power but it is now thought it was imported with the Wild Cotton, an introduced plant, which had been dispersed far and wide by 1856. Wild Cotton (Gomphocarpus fruticocus ) is another plant targeted by herbicides in the Byron Shire. The Monarch pupates on the Wild Cotton. I remind readers us Europeans were imported too.

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Long week-end.

A hint of winter with cooler days. Busy visitor week-end with Lily staying and stoking a cosy fire in the cabin.


A study has begun on herbicide free regeneration properties ( like here ) and a herbicide weed controlled site. Initial observations seem to suggest a wider range of indigenous plants sprouting here.

Herbicides are widely used to control invasive non-native plants in wildlands, yet there is little information on their non-target effects, including on native plants that are intended to benefit from the treatment. Effects at the seed stage have been particularly understudied, despite the fact that managers commonly seed native plants immediately after herbicide application. We conducted a greenhouse experiment to explore the effects of two broadleaf-specific herbicides (aminopyralid and picloram) on seedling emergence and biomass for 14 species that grow in dry grasslands of NW North America. For each species, we placed 50 seeds in soil-filled pots that were sprayed with a water control or one of the herbicides at one of two rates (1× and 0.01× of the recommended rate). After 5 weeks, we assessed seedling emergence and dry aboveground biomass per pot. At the recommended rate (1×), both her bicides significantly suppressed seedling emergence and lowered biomass. At the diluted rate (0.01×), the effect of picloram was comparable to the effect at the recommended rate, whereas aminopyralid had no effect. There was no difference in effects of herbicides on native versus non-native species. Although both herbicides are considered to be broadleaf-specific, monocots were just as vulnerable as dicots at the recommended rate. Our results show that herbicides can harm non-native and native plants at the seed stage, alike. Land managers should avoid spraying if recruitment of native species from the seedbank is a goal and should not seed directly after spraying. [Wagner, V. and Nelson, C. R. (2014). Herbicides can negatively affect seed performance in native plants. Restoration Ecology, online 07 April] Comment .

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Local example of herbicide use.

While in Australia synthetic herbicides like glyphosate are being used every where, include on our drains and to the edges of waterways, like it is harmless, first and third world countries our moving laws to protect the public. When are our herbicide users going to wake up ? Congratulation to the El Salvador government.

” With 45 votes in favor, members of the FMLN, Unidos por El Salvador and GANA approved the amendment of a Law on the control of pesticides, fertilizers and products for agricultural use, which allows the prohibition of 53 chemicals in El Salvador, Central America Data announced.”
Among the list of the banned 53 chemicals are Paraquat, Glyphosate (Roundup) and Endosulfan.

Sprayed many times. Pioneer Bridge site.

Monash University environmental scientist and The Weed’s Network founder Dr David Low is passionate about a sustainable, viable and creative future in our relationship with weeds. Dr. Low believes that through a spirit of willing exploration we can foster ways to better understand weeds, so they become a resource we can manage with environment and future generations in mind.

The Weed’s Network (http://weedsnetwork.com) provides evidence-based information for innovative ways of thinking about, engaging with and managing weeds sustainably. The Weed’s Network publishes The Weed’s News, a place to hear the latest about weed research and share information about weed management and/or prevention, delivered direct to your email address once a fortnight.

The Weed’s Network also publishes an on-line Sustainable Weeding Guide which is a leading resource for learning about sustainable options for living with and working with weeds. The guide covers a wide range of weed issues including Cultural Management, Revegetation Management, Organic Weed Management, Crop Specific Weed Management, Herbicides and much more.

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To poison or not to poison .

The week-end has just past. Beautiful weather and a couple of showers making sleeping easy.

Held a chemical-free work-shop brain storming session here and a couple of strategies came forth. It is partly in response to the increased visible spraying and injecting in the valley which has returned a considerable amount of out-rage from numerous land-holders. Some for the first time are thinking about what herbicides are doing to the water in run-off, now that we know for sure glyphosate is active in soil and water. Those of us who are regenerating degraded land, with-out chemicals, have learnt our responses from our observation as we go about our work.

Why not learn as you develop a reconciliation with the de-graded land most of us want to improve ? And what are you killing with your foliage sprays? Bees frogs, butterfly caterpillars ect ect ect ????

A considerable number of camphor’s have been poisoned near here and will pose a fire risk if we have the predicted dry autumn, winter and spring. The whole approach of the herbicide quick fixers is that they are not considering for a second the role camphor now play in sustaining many birds, butterflies and insects. If camphor had not replaced the indigenous trees we removed, white headed pigeons would not have survived.

Research now coming out of universities all over the world is pointing to herbicides contributing to serious ecological decline.

This is a coral tree (Erythrina x sykesii) stump I have coppiced over the last three years. It takes little effort once the main tree is removed and you stack the branches off the ground. This amazing tree has the ability to reshoot from any part touching the soil. I enjoy doing my follow up with a sharp machete which easily removes any re-sprouting with a little clump from where it is reshooting. Usually and if the resprouting clump is removed it will not resprout from that point again.

Ideas in the following blog (http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/indian-coral-tree-history-uses-and.html ) on adapting our thinking on how we view the Coral Tree.

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Direct action with-out herbicides or grant money.

Although a distinct feeling of autumn in the evening the days are still reaching 30 plus degrees. Jayne and Jock and I enjoyed a steep bush climb this morning and I did a demonstration slash with my favourite brush-hook.
This morning I listened to BACKGROUND BRIEFING on Radio National. Disturbing listening on how we are being duped by our Governments and the Mining Companies.

Germaine Greer rails against chemical companies and other corporations funding the land-care movement. Perhaps that is why we are seeing an increasing use of herbicides in our valleys, recipients receiving grants then paying workers ( usually with no breathing protection ) to spray willy nilly everything in their sights.

And from a ecological practitioner. Comments section ABC>
As identified here, the lack of accreditation for ecologists is a serious problem. Few people would complete an ecology/environmental science degree with the intention of committing fraud for profit (although I have met a few), but too often the economic reality of being in the employ of the proponent means that ecological consultants who don’t see their role as green tape scissors for business find themselves unemployed.


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What are pesticides ?

What are pesticides?

Insecticides (bug killers), herbicides (weed killers), and fungicides (fungus killers) are all pesticides; so are rodenticides and antimicrobials. Pesticides come in spray cans and crop dusters, in household cleaners, hand soaps and swimming pools.

Insecticides are generally the most acutely (immediately) toxic. Many are designed to attack an insect’s brain and nervous system, which can mean they have neurotoxic effects in humans as well. Herbicides are more widely used (RoundUp and atrazine are the two most used pesticides in the world) and present chronic exposure risks, such as cancer and reproductive harm. Fungicides are also used in large amounts; some are more benign, some are not.

Pesticides are also sometimes broken down into chemical classes and modes of action (e.g. fumigants are pesticides applied as gases to “sterilize” soil, and systemics work their way through a plant’s tissue after being taken up at the root). Major chemical classes include: carbamates, organochlorines and organophosphates (mostly developed 70 or more years ago for chemical warfare); and newer classes including pyrethroids and neonicitinoids, synthesized to mimic nature’s pest protection.

Believed Bacteria broke down glyphosate

“When we spray glyphosate on the fields by the rules it has been shown
that it is washed down into the upper ground water with a concentration
of 0.54 micrograms per litre. This is very surprising, because we had
previously believed that bacteria in the soil broke down the glyphosate
before it reached the ground water.”

Local spraying next to a waterway. Huonbrook Road.

It was the Danish Environment Ministry that gave permission to use
glyphosate – based on the producers [Monsanto’s] own research.

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E Mail Sue Walker.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Land-care.

The Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare’s last working bee and Christmas
party will be on December, Saturday 14th, from 8:30 am till 12:30
noon, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of
South Head Road fire track gate.

If you come later, walk along the dog walking beach track, look South
from the fence and you will spot us doing follow-up work. Please wear
boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring
water. Morning tea at 10:30 am with delicious organic bananas from
Mullumbimby Farmers Market and a water Mellon from Santos.

NP is ground spraying TNR, including the north boundary where it join
the chemical free site. Please bring a sign with a spray love message
for us to hang on the sprayed Bitou. Perhaps say how you want the
land to be cared for or what you don’t want. If possible use durable
recycled material, but whatever will be great.

Please if you get a chance write to NPWS and ask: why TNR can’t be
managed using ecological l restoration principals, if the community have
the methodology, skills and will to do it? I have called her and I have
also written a letter that I will share. Please share your letter if you
wish, it will empower other people to speak up.

Sue Walker ( local area manager)

Local assaults of herbicides have been increasing in the valley. More steep verges have been sprayed. Spasmodic herbicide has been used along side sections of the road. Steep inclines, where the rain fall excess run-off occurs, washing all the active poison into water-ways. Ecology first, adaptation to 2013. Regeneration is about watching, learning and listening. Poisoning short-lived tobacco bush and you have deprived numerous bird species of daily food.


If a human swims in a sharks territory then the human is food. Just like humans, opportunistic feeders.


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More on Bees.


Tree snake waiting for food after a week of constant rain.


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