Being an ex-pom, I can't let this slip although I don't have the science to
reply in detail. Elms in the UK are far from extinct. The fungal infection
carried by the beetles kills the mature trees above ground but does not
kill the roots. When I was back in England for a year in 1990/91, suckers
that had sprouted from the roots of the dead mature elms were up to 7
metres high, fast becoming good trees in their own right (the mature trees
were all killed around the mid 70s). I believe there was an outback of this
disease in the mid-19th century in Europe - and from my childhoold I recall
huge elms lining avenues to country estates, roads,grouped in parks, etc.,
all presumably the survivors from that oubreak. The same thing is occurring
now, so unless these young elms I saw in such profusion in 90/91, have
since died, there is no cause for alarm. Give them another 50 years or s -
elms are fast growing trees. However protecting against the fungus is very
expensive and not 100% reliable so if the Melbourne trees succumb, let us
hope eucalypts are planted in their place. We need trees and shrubs that
provide food, shelter and breeding habitat for our fauna, avi or otherwise.
By the way, Superb Parrots adore the seeds of Chinese elms but I've yet to
see any of native birds feeding in the European elm. The Rainbow Lorikeets
in Sydney eat the seeds of Liquid Amber but many introduced trees appear to
have little to offer, particularly in the way of nectar - except coral
trees which the councils are busily eradicating.
Bye for now, Penny
>> Do people know of a group called Friends of the Elm in Melbourne? Did
>> you know they are trying to get Barry Humphries on side as
>> spokesperson, due to the lack of action by the Government over the
>> destruction of these trees by the Elm Beetle?
>> Uroo, Nigel Sterpin
>Dear Nigel - while not wild about exotics, let us remember that in
>Europe and Britain the Elm tree is now just about extinct, thanks to the
>ravages of the Elm Bark Beetle. This is a tremendous loss to their
>landscapes and cities. I don't want to see too many Elms in the
>Australian countryside, but the avenues of elmtrees in the City parks
>and along, for example, Royal Parade, are the perfect complement for
>Victorian terrace architecture. Besides, Sacred Kingfishers and owls
>nest in their hollows in the Fitroy and Treasury Gardens, plus possums!
> Please don't be too chauvinistic. And shouldn't we be glad to offer
>some refuge to a few creatures, now severely endangered in their
>homelands? such as the Hog Deer in Gippsland and the Banteng Cattle of
>Arnhem Land (a genuine rare species, and ours are far less mixed with
>domestic cattle than any now surviving in Asia).
> Melbourne is just about the last city in the world to have its
>nineteenth century avenues of elmtrees. Their historic value is great.
> I have spent a lot of time lately in the Appeals Tribunal, trying to
>protect eucalypts from developers and destruction, when I'd much rather
>be birding. But I can enjoy exotic streetscapes too. And I'm just as
>anti fox, rabbit and buffalo as you are.
> Anthea Fleming
Penny Drake-Brockman, Examination Recitals Co-ordinator, Sydney
Conservatorium of Music.
Tel: 02 9351 1254.
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