• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Regeneration damaged blue eucalyptus plantation

 
William Anderson
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi there,
We're in the process of buying land and have come across what we think could be perfect, in terms of place, orientation, etc however it is currently been planted (around 150 acres or so) with blue eucalyptus as part of a government initiative here in Australia. It has been clear cut once, and the stumps are now all re-growing (apparently you can coppice blue gums in this way about 6 times). The land comes much more cheaply (than normal pasture), because it has been damaged by the plantation. We like the idea of regenerating poor farm land, however this is a lot of plantation to re-convert. Almost a scary amount.

Ultimately we'd want to turn a chunk back into native forest, a chunk into pasture land for sheep and possible cattle and a chunk into a food forrest / orchard of some description.

Does anyone know what the best way to possibly tackle this might be? The farmer started bulldosing about 20 acres, which has created a horrible scar. I'd love to avoid doing that, but I'm not sure how to approach it. Any tips, advice or pointers where I can research this more would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Will
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1335
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
67
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Could the trees be considered organically grown? Could you harvest the new growth to death? Sell to florists, fresh or dried, Sell to herbalists, dried, or distill essential oil? (55 gallon stainless steel barrel, steam generator, condensation coil).

Once the trees are dead, if there are allopathic substances from the trees, then most likely mycoremediation could clear that up. Big project.

Thekla
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1556
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you have funds for fencing? I would break it up into smaller chunks that can be processed a patch at a time. Rotational grazing methods (see Allan Savory's work) can be used beneath trees as you develop some areas back towards pasture.

As far as killing the regenerating stumps goes, you probably will need to manually cut stems down to ground level and periodically browse the re growth with goats.

If live stock are going to be a major part of your plan you will need to get a clear idea of your water arrangements from the outset - especially as you subdivide paddocks. Hauling water to a paddock quickly becomes unviable.

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Pie
Posts: 6139
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
186
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 393
Location: Otago, New Zealand
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
William Anderson wrote:Hi there,
We're in the process of buying land and have come across what we think could be perfect, in terms of place, orientation, etc however it is currently been planted (around 150 acres or so) with blue eucalyptus as part of a government initiative here in Australia. It has been clear cut once, and the stumps are now all re-growing (apparently you can coppice blue gums in this way about 6 times). The land comes much more cheaply (than normal pasture), because it has been damaged by the plantation. We like the idea of regenerating poor farm land, however this is a lot of plantation to re-convert. Almost a scary amount.

Ultimately we'd want to turn a chunk back into native forest, a chunk into pasture land for sheep and possible cattle and a chunk into a food forrest / orchard of some description.

Does anyone know what the best way to possibly tackle this might be? The farmer started bulldosing about 20 acres, which has created a horrible scar. I'd love to avoid doing that, but I'm not sure how to approach it. Any tips, advice or pointers where I can research this more would be greatly appreciated!


I live in a place where most of the trees have been cut down, so when I hear people with land with trees on them, I think that's great, no matter what the tree is. Trees are such a boon.

Is the blue gum one of your local native species? i.e. will it be part of the native reforestation? What kind of native forest would it be?

Are you allowed to clear the gums? I know some places in Oz you're not allowed to.

What's your climate and soil?

I agree that the copiccing nature of the gums is an asset.

What do you mean by land restoration? From a permaculture perspective, for me this means working with the land and nature to re-establish optimal natural cycles and to do so in the most efficient and life affirming way. If the land is currently growing gums, then the question is how are those gums part of the restoration. I agree with you that bulldozing is a very harsh way to go, and it probably involves a lot of expense and effort rather than working with nature.

What else grows on the land? What's the relationship between those things and the gums? Are the gums providing other ecological benefits eg to animals, insects, birds? Wind or sun protection? etc.

The problem is the solution

The PRI (Geoff Lawton's) forum is a bit of a mess at the moment, but there have been threads in the past on eucalypts, including how to grow other plants near or under gums. Probably the best way to search is via google by site eg eucalyptus threads
 
William Anderson
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all these are some great suggestions, and food for thought.

As to your question of Blue Eucalyptus. Yes this is a native tree to Australia, but Tasmania not Victoria. It's a tree that is widely used for plantation.
We definitely plan to keep a significant chunk (for fuel and building materials (and fence posts good idea!) and will interplant with trees that would have grown here. We're doing some research on the tree types that would have grown here, ALONG time ago as before the plantation it was pasture for sheep. But before that the whole area was forest. It's unclear whether the remnant eucalypts (not blue gum) on the property are originals or pioneers when it was settled.

However either way the Blue Eucalyptus is not a tree that would normally grow here and has really been planted as a monocrop (grid layout in rows, much like a pine plantation). They're also a very competitive tree, with root systems that make it difficult for other plants to thrive. So not an ideal tree system to keep at scale.

Rose I hadn't thought about the ecological function they might offer and one thing they could provide is wind and sun shelter to help the trees get a head start.

Will go searching on PRI, I had an initial look but as you say it's not setup that well to find articles on there.

Cheers
Will
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1556
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been mulling this. What about looking at those trees the other way round - they aren't a problem but a possible future income stream. You could do some research; how much would an acre of trees harvested for pulp wood fetch you? Could there be a market for a local charcoal or firewood business? The trees could provide a valuable diversified income stream while your other farm incomes are developing. For example you could thin areas, allowing pasture to develop beneath a fairly open canopy (silvopasture). Use thinings for firewood sale or make charcoal on site. The larger trees can be cultivated for an eventual high grade timber crop in 20/30 years.

You haven't really said what stage the regrowth is at present - is it fairly new stems still, or decent trunks?

Tree work is something that can be cash generating at any quiet time of year, while other projects take off.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1693
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
113
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
once you have done the research that others have suggested you will be able to develop a plan of attack.

One thing I noticed is that no one mentioned doing as the first peoples do to rejuvenate land, controlled burn.
A controlled burn not only clears old growth but it encourages new growth of native seeds, that would not be a bad start to reclamation.
I would expect that if you humbly requested the help of the first people, they would at the least give you methods handed down for generations.
Best case would be that they helped you carry out those methods of rejuvenation.

Observation is the first step to any rejuvenation project.
 
Rob Browne
Posts: 65
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a follow on from Michael's post have a look at this page http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/threatenedspecies/08186bghfbpg.pdf

Thinking silvopasture would be a very good way to go as well.

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1335
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
67
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The publication from the NSW government looks like a wonderful resource.

I thought of something else worth mentioning. There have been several suggestions re firewood. There were many eucalyptus planted in the part of California where I grew up. I don't know if they were blue gum or not. They were planted in rows, hundreds of acres. It was thought they would be valuable wood, but they planted the wrong species, and what remain are trees with no value as firewood because of the amount of "creosote" in them. The wood is said to make a huge build up of something in the wood that makes the flue prone to chimney fires.

The wood is also very brittle, so that if one collected the coppiced trees thinking of collecting withes, again, not bendy enough.

With any luck, your blue gums will be good for many things and you will prosper as you transition to silvopasture or a diverse plant community of some kind.

Thekla
 
benjamim fontes
Posts: 27
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
William Anderson wrote:Hi there,
We're in the process of buying land and have come across what we think could be perfect, in terms of place, orientation, etc however it is currently been planted (around 150 acres or so) with blue eucalyptus as part of a government initiative here in Australia. It has been clear cut once, and the stumps are now all re-growing (apparently you can coppice blue gums in this way about 6 times). The land comes much more cheaply (than normal pasture), because it has been damaged by the plantation. We like the idea of regenerating poor farm land, however this is a lot of plantation to re-convert. Almost a scary amount.

Ultimately we'd want to turn a chunk back into native forest, a chunk into pasture land for sheep and possible cattle and a chunk into a food forrest / orchard of some description.

Does anyone know what the best way to possibly tackle this might be? The farmer started bulldosing about 20 acres, which has created a horrible scar. I'd love to avoid doing that, but I'm not sure how to approach it. Any tips, advice or pointers where I can research this more would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Will

Hi William Anderson
I advise You to see this video from two brasilian farmers using eucaliptus and bananas tree as mulching for crops and fooforest. They call it agroecology. The video is in portugiese but you can see the "legendas" in english. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7h-JbaJjn4 see you later Benjamim Fontes Norht Portugal
 
William Anderson
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More good tips! Thanks.
Michael - just to answer your question it's a young plantation. It was planted I'm guessing around 2009 and then the trees were all cut down for pulp wood 2 years ago. So the regrowth is now about 2 meters high, but with multi-stems coming off the trunk as you would expect from coppicing. Looking into this particualr variety of Eucaplytus it does seem to have a shortish life from coppicing i.e. you can seemingly only do it up to about 5 times. I had a look through the link to the USDA document which was pretty thorough: it's both good firewood, charcoal and pulpwood.
I'm going to look into silvopasture as this could be a possible solution, however considering the overall area under plantation (and the low price that pulpwood is fetching), we will need to thin - I just need to work out the options.
Cheers
Will
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic