Loss of mature native trees

To: John Layton <>, Canberra birds <>
Subject: Loss of mature native trees
From: John Harris <>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2018 05:49:05 +0000

I think we should be careful about the degree to which we mix up separate issues of infrastructure such as the light rail with an issue such as the destruction of old growth trees. I happen to be a believer in the principle of the light rail for environmental and social reasons but I won’t expand on that here as it is inflammatory and only marginal to my COG/birding interests.  Tram or no tram, I understand that the Peppermint gums were doomed. Many had been felled already and the others were not going to be there in 10 years’ time tram or not. For what it is worth, I believe they have already planted more eucalypts along the Gungahlin – City route than ever were in Northbourne Avenue.

Chatline readers will know how upset I was about the felling of TRULY old growth trees to duplicate Gundaroo Drive, trees which predated Canberra. So I welcome the news about a listing or protection order on old growth trees, The ones on Gundaroo Drive could have been saved if they had been protected 25 years ago when Gundaroo Drive did not have suburbs on either side because the Drive could have been aligned 50 metres further west. They have protected ONE such tree only, at the roundabout near the petrol stations.

I applaud ANY planting of native trees but we know that no nesting hollows will develop for a very long time.  So remaining old growth remnant trees must be protected. The light rail corridor does not have a huge impact on old growth trees but clearing for new  suburbs certainly does.  But this does not always work as well as we dream. They have managed to preserve some stands in Gungahlin, in Forde for example. Sadly the hollows in these urban old growth trees seem to be colonised by Common Mynas and Starlings and not by parrots etc. The smaller cavities are still used by the Pardalotes.  




From: John Layton <>
Date: Thursday, 4 October 2018 at 11:34 am
To: chatline <>
Subject: [canberrabirds] Loss of mature native trees


Sometimes trees native to the area can prove a failure as far as landscaping aesthetics are concerned.

A case in point being the Blakely’s red gum Eucalyptus blakelyi, a ubiquitous species native to the ACT and a wide area of SE Australia, but one which is susceptible to heavy attack by psyllids  which can disfigure and drain the tree’s vitality. This species was once planted along Northbourne Avenue but as the National Capital Development Commission received continual criticism, often from tourists driving into Canberra along Northbourne, to the effect that “all those trees are dying,” the Blakely’s red gums were replaced by another species of eucalyptus the name of which now escapes me but I think they were commonly called Swamp Peppermints.

Although not a native of the area they did well here and looked green and lush year round, and the birds appeared to accept them. Alas, I’m told the Swamp Peppermints have now gone to make way for Andrew’s “albino pachyderm.”


John Layton



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