A number of the overseas foresters who recently visited the Ballarat AFG’s biorich plantation demonstration site on a field trip commented on its uniqueness in attempting to bring forestry and environmental plantings together.
In April, the well-attended ANZIF conference field trip of 25 foresters from Australia, New Zealand and overseas visited ImLal. In particular, Geraint Richards, Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall (i.e. forests owned by Prince Charles) told Ballarat Region Treegrowers (BRT) President, Phil Kinghorn, that he saw the biorich model as a way of “breaking down the fence” between farmers and foresters. He said he intended to draw what BRT was doing to the attention of Prince Charles.
Jean Baptise, a CSIRO researcher working in Queensland, made a similar comment: he’d been trying without success to get collaboration between farmers and foresters in bringing agroforestry and environmental reveg together. Like Geraint, he saw the biorich model as a means of breaking the deadlock. Clumping farm forestry woodlots around the perimeter to bulk out a biodiverse core not only scales up habitat biodiversity, but also offers income diversification potential for landholders.
The ANZIF 2015 conference theme was about Creating Resilient Landscapes. As a means of integrating farm forestry and Landcare-style environmental plantings, the biorich forestry model serves to build resilience into both landholders and landscape.
Mixed flocks of blue wrens and fantails were seen flitting around in dense cover in ImLal South: "As you would expect for autumn," said bird survey leader Grant Palmer. One new first – a New Holland honeyeater. Numbers were down overall. Again, to be expected, said Grant: "The migratory species have all flown south."
We spotted a few 'invaders' like rose hip and the pampas grass (on left below). ImLal North is full of thistles (on right below) and the only birds seen are the large woodland varieties like the eastern and crimson rosellas. On the bright side, only one noisy miner was spotted. None were seen in the summer bird survey. What's going on? Maybe it has something to do with the removal of cattle – the only noisy miner seen was on the boundary where cattle are still grazing. It's only a thought bubble...
Gib Wettenhall is interested in how we carry out large scale landscape restoration that involves the people who live in those landscapes. That, he believes, would build truly resilient landscapes.