Landscape solutions or koala experiments

 

A little justice this week with news that as a consequence of a Rainforest Alliance audit confirming the killing and injuring of koalas during plantation logging, the Forest Stewardship Council has removed accreditation from ‘Australian Bluegum Plantations’ based in south west Victoria.

According to ABP chief executive and after saying the footage was not on its plantations now former chairman of the FSC Tony Price indicated, standing down from the FSC will enable a focus on ensuring the company complies with certification requirements.

In that regard the Age reports “Forest Stewardship Council chief executive Natalie Reynolds said it could only set guidelines for its members, not manage the wider landscape. She said the department (Environment and Primary Industries) had the expertise and power to bring industries and communities together to develop a plan. “There is a landscape level problem that requires a landscape level solution,” which is what the NSW Gov is supposed to be doing but aren’t.

Coincidentally, and as they are also proposing to import koalas, the ABC have a report on the re-location of over abundant koalas from the Otways also in south west Victoria, to the 16 hectare Tidbinbilla NR in Canberra. Another eight koalas have been added to bolster the 10 remaining koalas in the exclosure, two of which were introduced in 2010. The current density, more than one koala per hectare is unlikely to be sustained even in very high quality habitat.

Within Tidbinbilla there are apparently ‘ Mana Gums (sic), Apple Boxes, Brown Barrels and other eucalypts‘ only the first one, Manna Gum, is thought to be a primary feed tree and whether the any tree is suitable depends on the soil where it grows.

 

 

redgum

Now 14 years old there has been no evidence of koalas using the Forest Redgum, above center, although evidence of koalas has been found within 150 metres of the tree and scratch marks on the trunk indicate something has climbed it.

Currently with a DBH of 238 mm, the upward growth of this tree seems to have stalled, relative to the Maidens gum on the right that is nearly twice the height of the Redgum and only 5 years older. So as an experiment aimed mostly at increasing soil PH and nutrient availability, I put 1.3 kg of homemade char in eight holes, about 20cm deep, a metre from the tree trunk and re-filled the holes.

What if anything happens is anyone’s guess but I do prefer experimenting with trees for koalas rather than koalas themselves.

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