The tree planting at Lurg (just east of Benalla, Vic) on the weekend was a
resounding success. 120 people from bushwalking clubs, church groups, uni.
conservation groups, service clubs plus locals planted 6000 trees at four
sites. On the two weekends (8/9 & 22/23 August) about 10 000 trees and
shrubs were planted. This brings the total planted in this project alone
in the last three years to 54 000 trees !!!! A mix of 35 species were put
into most sites from seed collected from adjacent roadsides. Now, this is
doing something really positive for woodland birds in Victoria !!
The sites planted were centred on remnant Mugga Ironbark, two of which had
resident Grey-crowned Babblers. The aim was to make these sites more
viable by establishing a sizeable patch of woodland with a diverse
understory. While it will be some time before the new trees will be of
direct benefit to Regent Honeyeaters they be used by babblers in the next
couple of years. The establishment of the understory will greatly benefit
the health of the existing mature trees, many of which are showing signs of
stress and dieback, and thus helping Regents in the shorter term. As the
trees and shrubs grow they should also start to be colonised by small birds
such as wrens via the adjacent strips of roadside vegetation.
In these cases the birds are benefiting, as are the gliders that hang on in
the roadside vegetation, but so are landholders who are surrendering
productive land for the cause. These landholders are acknowledging that
increased biodiversity on their properties can assist in pest control as
well as provide much better stock protection than "conventional" wind
breaks. Stock protected from the wind are not only happier (a happy sheep
is a sight to behold) but do better, putting on weight faster and thus
increasing productivity on the property. Tree planting is also directly
assisting with on farm management issues such as erosion and salinity
control. In all, a win, win situation.
Footnote: Despite a rather ordinary weather forecast the rain did not
eventuate although a strong wind was blowing on Saturday. There was
considerable excitement, among the lone birdwatcher at least, when a VERY
dark Brown Falcon flew over one of the sites, flying very much like a Black
Falcon in the prevailing wind.