We were back at the farm in Beverley for the second year early this winter, to implement the tree planting and improve our techniques to restore the natural tree and understorey species which
had once been removed from the area. John, Iris, Bernie and us are keen on implementing
the existing tree planting with local smaller understorey plants to help restore biodiversity in the area by protecting the native flora and fauna like, for example, birds for pest management.
They already started planting nitrogen fixing clover to regenerate the soil and install an extensive dam network for water preservation.
We added 3 different species to the planting:
- Eucalyptus wandoo "White Gum"
- Eucalyptus astringens "Brown Mallet"
- Eucalyptus argyphea "Silver Mallet"
Wandoo woodlands were once extensive throughout much of south-Western Australia, but have now been extensively cleared for dryland agriculture,
and are poorly represented.
Uses of wandoo timber, known for being strong and durable, have been mainly for heavy and light construction such as wharves, bridges, poles, sleepers and flooring.
The bark and wood were harvested in the past because they contain commercial quantities of tannins.
There has been a severe decline of wandoo woodlands Eucalyptus and other woodlands trees. The reasons are unclear, as there are a number of contributing factors involved.
Reduced soil water, salinity and possible changed fire regimes seem to be involved. Wood boring and crown defoliation insects are important but are likely to be secondary causes.
In February 2002, the West Australian government launched the "Wandoo Response Group" aiming at developing programs that improved the health of Eucalyptus wandoo and other
wheatbelt woodland species.
Feral (introduced) animals
We had to install tree guards to protect the seedlings from rabbits as they ringbark trees and shrubs and prevent regeneration by eating seeds and seedlings.
Feral rabbits cause severe damage to the natural environment and to agriculture by removing above-ground and below-ground vegetation and destroying the stability of the soil
degrading the land and competing with native wildlife. They contribute to erosion and
loss of topsoil by wind and rain in the semi-arid and arid zones. Their impact often increases during drought and immediately after fire when food is scarce and they eat
whatever they can.
Their extensive warrens are extremely difficult to control, especially in granite outcrops.
Feral rabbits may have caused the extinction of several
small ground dwelling Australian mammals and have contributed to the decline in numbers of many native plants and animals.
Because native Australian animals evolved in relative isolation from other countries, they are particulary vulnerable to so-called feral or introduced animals.
Feral animals in Australia are mainly domestic animals that have gone wild (and in one case the cane toad, introduced in Queensland from Hawaii in 1935 to control 2 beetles in the sugar cane), or were brought in for recreational use,
like the European rabbit released into the wild for hunting in the 1850's. Feral animals causing most public concern include:
Cane toad - Bufo marinus
European wild rabbit - Oryctolagus cuniculus
European red fox - Vulpes vulpes
Feral camel - Camelus dromedarius
Feral cat - Felis catus
Feral goat - Capra hircus
Feral horse - Equus caballus and Feral donkey (Equus asinus)
Feral pig - Sus scrofa
Feral water buffalo - Bubalus bubalis
South West Australian ancient rock formation
The majestic boulders from the granite outcrops stand proud among undulating agricultural landscapes.
Their presence are felt like other powerful sacred places around the world where ancient cultures would give them special importance.
They are inhabited by a lot of small and beautiful creatures.
Run off from granite outcrops cause water erosion and recharge to saline groundwater, making revegetation of these rocky areas a high priority.
We are interested in creating vegetated corridors on that breakaway country (visible on the above picture), where biodiversity can be re-established and sustainable
agriculture implemented. This diversified approach will enhance the economic viability of the farm through an improved environment and restoration
of some degraded lands.
As granite lies under most of the south-west of Western Australia where the farm is, it plays a key role in the development of the soils of this area.
This granite is over 2500 millions years old, which makes it one of the oldest rocks in the world. They have continually had their minerals slowly leached or washed from them.
This helps to explain why they are so infertile compared with soils in other parts of the world.
Despite being called the Yilgarn Block, this granite is not a single
massive lump. At different times in its long history it has undergone many movements and intrusions of magma (molten rock from below). Some of the movements have been
extremely slow, lasting millions of years. The changes that have occured in the block have been important in producing strips of fertile brown soil as well as the gold,
nickel, copper and zinc of the Goldfields where our Didgeridoos are harvested.
For more information on the Goldfields, follow the link Mallee Tree
As well as our own grown seedlings, we are keen on buying more seedlings from the Narrogin Plant Nursery in the wheatbelt.
Their nursery (visible above), currently has the capacity to grow 850,000 containerised seedlings of up to 200 different native species of trees and shrubs.
The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), is at the forefront of tree propagation and management for rural Western Australia. It shares with other agencies
and community organisations the vision for a sustainable and productive agriculture that incorporates a properly distributed tree cover.
For more information on CALM's activities, follow the link:
(All rights reserved. © 2004 Pictures Wandoo Didgeridoo.
Acknowledgements: Ministry of Education Western Australia,
Natural Heritage Trust, Department of Conservation and Land Management).
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