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May 5, 2012 in Urban wildlife | Tags: bats, bats and forests, bats and insect control, bats and pollination, biodiversity, Flying Foxes, how bats help people, needs for bats, urban wildlife, We Need Bats & Bats Need Us YouTube | Leave a comment
“Bats are primary predators of night-flying insects, including many of the most damaging agricultural pests & others that bedevil the rest of us. More than two-thirds of bat species hunt insects, & they have healthy appetites. A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour, while a pregnant or lactating female bat typically eats the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night.
Almost a third of the world’s bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants. In return for their meals, these bats are vital pollinators of countless plants (many of great economic value) & essential seed dispersers with a major role in regenerating rainforests. About 1 percent of bats eat fish, mice, frogs or other small vertebrates.” ~ Bat Conservation International http://www.batcon.org/
Two days ago Bat Conservation International posted a great 3-minute video that shows how the health of our planet & the pollination of much of our food depends upon the free environmental services provided by bats. Without bats we are in serious trouble. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8CkEIz6rdc
October 28, 2011 in Urban wildlife | Tags: barbed wire, barbed wire and wildlife, bat-friendly netting, Flying Foxes, fruit tree netting, injuries to wildlife, Marrickville LGA, monofilament netting, razor wire and wildlife, The Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project, urban wildlife | Leave a comment
This intervention won’t make the barbed wire that seems to be popping up throughout Marrickville LGA safer for people, but it will make it safer for urban wildlife. As for razor wire, as far as I am concerned it has no place in the Inner West. I came across a website called ‘The Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project.’ It is trying to raise awareness about the dreadful impact of barbed wire fencing on wildlife. See – http://wildlifefriendlyfencing.com/WFF/Home.html
“Each year thousands of animals face a cruel death or permanent injury from entanglement on barbs, usually on the top strand. More than 75 wildlife species have been identified in Australia as occasional or regular victims of barbed wire fences, especially nocturnal animals such as bats, gliders & owls. Many fail to see the fence, or cannot clear the height under windy conditions. Most of those rescued are too severely damaged to return to the wild.”
Until organisations like Railcorp & Marrickville Council remove barbed wire from their fencing, interested people can do something simple that will go a long way to helping birds & bats avoid injury.
A length of white ribbon or other white material tied at 1.5 – 2 metre intervals along the top strand of barbed wire will make this area visible to birds & they will fly above the barbed wire. The top strand is important as 86% of wildlife entangled on barbed wire is caught on the top strand & white is the colour that is most easily visible at night. The material should be long enough to be able to move in the wind. A 25 cm length tied will allow a drop of around 12 cms (5 inches), enough to be able to flutter, but not so much to be a visible eyesore.
This is a simple & cheap way of preventing injury to wildlife. !!! Anyone who wants to do this needs to be careful not to injure themselves whist attaching the ribbon to the fence. A pair of leather gardening gloves will help avoid injury as will long sleeves & a careful approach. !!! And stay away from razor wire!
The Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project is also calling for the banning of sales of monofilament (thin nylon type) netting & all black netting across Australia. Their website has photographs of animals caught in this type of netting & the injuries are horrendous. Bats & birds that get caught in this type of netting suffer a long, slow & agonising death for want of a simple change of netting & doing the job properly. Bird & bat-friendly netting is readily available & all one has to do is ensure that the netting is tight around the tree so that it has a bounce-effect. This will allow wildlife to walk over the netting without getting entangled & without being able to get to your fruit. If the flying-foxes do get dispersed from Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, we will likely have an increase in bats in our suburbs & more care needs to be applied to not expose them to unnecessary dangers.
A fabulously creative way to pass on a message of conservation, this is a YouTube video of a rap song by Australian Peter Noble about the critically endangered flying foxes in Australia. “The greatest threat they face is ignorance from you & me.” The video shows inside a bat rehabilitation aviary & is well worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoFNBAhEquc
September 13, 2011 in Urban wildlife | Tags: barbed wire and wildlife, bats, bats and fruit trees, biodiversity, flying fox facts, flying fox rehabilitation, Flying Foxes, Flying Foxes Above Wolli Creek YouTube, fruit tree netting and bats, fruit tree netting and flying foxes, injury to bats, Marrickville Council, Marrickville LGA, Railcorp and razor wire, razor wire and wildlife, Razor wire at Tempe Bus Depot, Sounds at Dusk Cooks River Marrickville YouTube, Sydney bats, Sydney Wildlife, Tillman Park Sydenham, urban wildlife, Wildlife Information & Rescue Service, WIRES | Leave a comment
Earlier this week I watched a program on Channel 6 about a flying fox rehabilitation centre. Unfortunately, I did not catch their name. As with most programs on Channel 6, this was a simple documentary, the camera fixed on a woman who spoke about the work of the rehab centre with shots of the bats she was talking about. The scene was a large aviary where flying foxes of all ages were being rehabilitated for release back into the wild. A few bats had been so badly injured that they will remain at the rehab centre for life & are used as educational bats when speaking to groups. They can’t fly. One of these bats was at the Eco Festival on the Cooks River last year.
Some facts about flying foxes discussed on this program –
- Flying foxes are playful, cheeky creatures that enjoy interacting with humans when in care.
- They have close friendships with each other. Two bats that were tagged with consecutive numbers before release found themselves coming back into care a couple of years later showing that they had remained together since their release.
- Staff members have come to work to find an injured bat waiting outside the aviary. Checking their tags they found the bats, for there have been a few, knew where to come if they were injured. Now that is smart.
- Bats are not just flying around indiscriminately with a few thousand others. They are families, pairs & groups of friends who sleep together & forage for food together during the night.
What made me decide to write a post about this program was that the woman being interviewed said there were 2 main reasons why flying foxes get injured. The first is barbed wire, which is often placed near a Eucalyptus or Bottle Brush tree. The bats come to feed on the flower nectar, don’t see the barbed wire & tear their wings. Many bats are still alive when you see them tangled in barbed wire. They stay still because they are in pain. People who see them think they are dead & the bat ends up suffering a long, slow & painful death. So if you see a flying fox in this condition, it is well worth ringing a wildlife rescue organization that will remove the bat if it is dead & rescue it if it is still alive. Barbed wire injuries often mean that a bat cannot fly again & many are so badly injured that they need to be euthanized.
How I hate barbed wire & razor wire. I’ve seen more of the stuff in Sydenham seeming to protect something belonging to Railcorp. The back fence at Tillman Reserve & the border of the goods line is barbed wire as well. Tillman Park & this section of Railcorp land is viewed as a prime biodiversity corridor so hopefully Marrickville Council will convince Railcorp to remove the barbed wire in these areas.
It’s crazy to plant to increase biodiversity & then surround the area with an invisible obstacle course that that has the high potential of severely injuring the very wildlife you are encouraging. People know how to get through or over barbed wire & razor wire anyway so it is entirely unnecessary.
Even the Department of Corrective Services is removing barbed wire from the prison walls & is using slip-rollers instead. If the prisons can remove barbed & razor wire, surely the Council, Railcorp & other organizations around the locality can do the same. How long before a kid gets hurt?
The second main cause of injury is fruit tree netting because people sling the net loosely over the tree. Loose netting means that bats as well as birds are very likely to become entangled in the net. Netting causes deep wounds & severe burns to the skin of a bat. A tangled, trapped bat or a bird is also very difficult to get out of the netting. A homeowner does not want to find a terrified & injured bat wrapped in netting high up in a fruit tree because trying to remove a wild animal is likely to cause injury to the person. It is best to call a trained wildlife rescuer who has also been vaccinated against any bat-related viruses.
If you have fruit trees, you can still net them. However, you need to pull the netting tight around & under the canopy so that a bird or a bat will bounce off it if they land on the tree. Sydney Bats have a document that explains how to net your fruit trees with wildlife in mind. – http://www.sydneybats.org.au/cms/index.php?urban
If you see an injured bat, call –
- Sydney Wildlife (02) 9413 4300 or
- WIRES (Wildlife Information & Rescue Service) (02) 8977 3333
- Outside Sydney contact your local wildlife organization.
- Your local Vet will also know whom to contact.
I made a couple of short YouTube videos of flying foxes in the local area -
- Sounds at Dusk – Cooks River Marrickville – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IpPjeF6Ywk &
- Flying Foxes Above Wolli Creek - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5Th968rl7U
September 7, 2011 in Urban wildlife | Tags: Australian biodiversity, bats and fruit trees, biodiversity, biodiversity Marrickville LGA, Bottle Brush trees, Callistemon, Department of Sustainability Environment Water Population & Communities, Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation List of Threatened Fauna, Flying Foxes, Greenway, habitat, Inner West Courier, Marrickville Council, Marrickville Council’s Draft Biodiversity Action Plan, Marrickville LGA, National Biodiversity Month, NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, preservation of habitat, Threatened Species Day, threatened species Marrickville, urban forest, urban wildlife | 1 comment
Today is Threatened Species Day & September is also National Biodiversity Month. These events are meant to raise awareness in the community about our environmental issues. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities says the following about Australia’s biodiversity –
“Australia is home to more than one million species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds & 89% of inshore, freshwater fish are endemic – that is they are only found in Australia. Changes to the landscape & native habitat as a result of human activity have put many of these unique species at risk. Over the last 200 years many plants & animals have become extinct.”
The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage says, “In NSW more than 1000 native species, populations & ecological communities are threatened with extinction.” In Marrickville LGA we have remnants of Sydney Turpentine & Ironbark Forest, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, Sydney Sandstone & Sandstone Heath. The Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Action Plan identifies these as a priority for action to keep. Once the habitat goes, so do the animals, birds, reptiles, frogs & insects that inhabit it. In some areas species are hanging on by a thin thread.
In Marrickville LGA we have the Green & Gold Frog, the Grey-headed Flying Fox, the East-coast Freetail Bat, the Eastern Bentwing Bat & the Long-nosed Bandicoot on the vulnerable or endangered list. With funding for the GreenWay being cut out in this week’s NSW Budget, the Bandicoot colonies will be at greater risk.
Flying Foxes across Australia have become ‘Public Enemy Number 1’ because they are impacting humans more than ever in search of ever-dwindling food sources & habitat. Recently there have been incidents of poisoning local Fig trees, a major source of food for flying foxes. For bats, the future is not looking good.
Also mentioned in the Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Strategy as threatened species for this area are the Red-crowned Toadlet, the Barking Owl, the Masked Owl, the Powerful Owl, the Sooty Owl, the Pied Oystercatcher, the Terek Sandpiper, the Swift Parrot, the Regent Honeyeater & the East-coast Freetail Bat. That’s a long list for an area of only 14 square kilometres.
Looking at the map of ‘Threatened species, population & ecological communities around Marrickville LGA over the last decade’ in the Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Strategy, about 98% of sightings follow the GreenWay or near the GreenWay, the Cooks River & off to Wolli Creek.
Council has the responsibility to plant street trees, parks & other areas with urban wildlife in mind. It is wonderful to see that they have prepared such in-depth reports about biodiversity in Marrickville LGA. Their action list gives me great hope in that there will be a future for urban wildlife & that areas of habitat will continue to be cared for & built upon, especially for those classified as vulnerable or worse.
The Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation List of Threatened Fauna has a list of 444 species that makes for bleak reading – http://bit.ly/qCM3lO
Here is an Inner West Courier article about the GreenWay funding – http://bit.ly/o4MvUp & another where WIRES are asking people to net their fruit trees correctly so as not to injure flying foxes & birds – http://bit.ly/ovPTlB
There are a number of events happening across the locality for National Biodiversity Month such as the Two Valley Trail Reconciliation Walk (see - http://bit.ly/oHDA0C ) & the Birds & Bush event (see – http://bit.ly/pirv0V ).
April 6, 2011 in Urban wildlife | Tags: bats, end licensed shooting of flying-foxes, exclusion netting for orchards, Flying Foxes, flying-foxes in NSW, Humane Society International, shooting of flying-foxes | Leave a comment
The NSW Labor government committed to end the licensed shooting of flying-foxes in NSW just before the recent elections. They committed $5 million for farmers to install exclusion netting around orchards & the legal shooting of flying-foxes to be phased-out within 3 years. The Liberal Party said if they were elected they would reduce this period to 2 years, so I guess, now that the Liberal Part are in government, this will be happening. The Humane Society International said, “Only an immediate ban on the shooting of flying-foxes can avoid this unnecessary cruelty.” http://www.ecovoice.com.au/eco-news/2813-flying-foxes-get-a-last-minute-reprieve-from-the-nsw-government
I have made a 1min 45secs YouTube video of the spectacular sight of thousands of flying-foxes crossing the Cooks River at dusk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToG4T_mkUWE
January 30, 2011 in Tree news | Tags: Attorney-General and banned plants, Australian National Botanic Gardens Canberra, Australian National University and tree removal, Avenue Preservation Group, Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour, Ballarat Council, banning Wattle, biodiversity, City of Sydney Council, critically endangered trees, dead fish Alexandra Canal and Cooks River, Dimethyltryptamine and Wattle, Flying Foxes, ground salinity, heat in cities, Heritage Victoria, King George Square Brisbane, Kingborough Council, managing salinity, Mongarlowe Mallee, Moorabool Shire Council, Myrtle Rust, Myrtle Rust and tea tree plantations, netting fruit trees, NSW Department of Environment & Climate Change, Paul Harriss MP, pine plantations and bushfires, shade trees, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, tree vandalism, Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan, Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, WIRES | Leave a comment
1. This is how City of Sydney Council regards their street trees (my emphasis)
– “Street trees are one of the City of Sydney’s most important assets. They make our city beautiful, improve air quality & provide cooling shade. The number of trees lining our streets has increased by 4,500 over the last five years, reaching 29,000.” They are currently reviewing their Street Tree Master Plan & feedback is being asked of the community. City of Sydney Council are working with the Australian Museum to develop an Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan that will be completed mid 2011. The project aims to conserve indigenous plant & animal species & to improve their habitats. “This important project recognises that biodiversity is a crucial part of the environmental, social & cultural health of a city.” http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/oldtime-residents-cast-eyes-over-a-changing-city-20101221-194gj.html
2. Not trees, but very local. Last December, thousands of dead fish were found floating in a pond at Sydney Airport. The pond is fed by water from the Alexandra Canal & the Cooks River. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/dead-fish-clog-lake-at-airport-20101218-191ba.html
3. Australian National University plans to cut down 33 native trees for a new a new public policy centre & car park. “More than 20 of the trees are yellow box, long-leaved box and Blakely’s red gum, all protected as critically endangered grassy box woodland remnants under federal environmental laws.” http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/green-group-anger-over-anu-move/2036974.aspx
4. 5 Weeping Lilly Pillies have been planted in King George Square Brisbane
after a public outcry over a lack of shade. The community continues to be sceptical about the benefit of 5 trees saying there needs to be more shade trees & reminding that the trees will take years to grow to any decent size where they are capable of producing shade. “At the time tests revealed temperatures hit 56.3C in shadeless parts of the square in summer.” I predict we will see more of this. The Sydney newspapers reported loudly about people waiting for 12 hours in the blazing sun at the Opera House Forecourt to have a good viewing place for the New Year’s Eve fireworks. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/king-george-square-tree-plantings-get-roast-for-inadequacy/story-e6freoof-1225995090907#sidebar-end
5. The Mongarlowe Mallee, found in the Braidwood region is one of Australia’s rarest Eucalypts. The New South Wales Department of Environment & Climate Change has given the only survivor of 40 grafts to the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra. Hopefully, they can manage to grow this tree & save it from extinction. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/25/3121270.htm
6. WIRES have pleaded with people to net their fruit trees carefully as many flying foxes have been caught in them, suffering gross injury such as broken bones & other injuries that require the bats to be euthanized. http://macarthur-chronicle-wollondilly.whereilive.com.au/news/story/flying-foxes-getting-caught-in-wollondilly-fruit-tree-nets/
7. Myrtle Rust, a deadly plant disease that originated in South America is heading towards the tea tree plantations of Tweed on the NSW north coast. Myrtle Rust has the potential to destroy tea tree plantations & the tea tree oil industry. http://www.tweednews.com.au/story/2011/01/24/tea-tree-tweed-myrtle-rust/
8. Kingborough Council has dealt with the vandalism of trees for water views by erecting large signs. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust supported using the signs, but Paul Harriss, an Upper House MP didn’t, saying, “the signs are confrontational & unjustified.” I wonder how he would have felt about the shipping containers used by a council in Poole, England? http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/07/3108043.htm
9. This is great article about the increased ground salinity in farmland across
Western Australia caused by clearing the landscape for farming. The article explains how salinity occurs & how to manage it. “…the National Land & Water Resources Audit recently indicated up to 6.3 million hectares of the state’s farmland could develop shallow, saline water tables by 2050.” Planting trees is one way to manage salinity, however, “It’s just not realistic to expect farmers to revegetate 50 – 80% of their productive cropping land with trees, because it basically becomes an unproductive block.” Salinity is a dreadful problem across many part of Australia that is seriously affecting food-production land & is expected to get far worse. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/28/3124109.htm
10. The community presented Ballarat Council with a petition demanding the removal of pine plantations from the suburbs of Mount Clear & Mount Helen to prevent bushfires close to housing. http://abc.gov.au/news/stories/2011/01/27/3122870.htm?site=news
11. Community group, ‘Avenue Preservation Group’, won its fight to save 9 commemorative elm trees in the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour. Moorabool Shire Council wanted to cut down the trees to allow for a roundabout to be built. The decision to refuse a permit to remove the trees was made by Heritage Victoria. Moorabool Shire Mayor Pat Griffin has warned the council “will never give up” on the roundabout. http://melton-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/heritage-victory-for-bacchus-marsh-avenue-of-honour/ Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy later considered overriding Heritage Victoria’s decision to refuse the permit. As far as I know a decision has not been made. http://melton-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/minister-may-intervene-over-bacchus-marsh-avenue-of-honour/
12. The Attorney-General is currently deciding on a list of plants to be banned in Australia & one of them is the iconic Wattle, Australia’s national floral emblem. Why? Because Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) can be extracted from Wattle bark. DMT is “a naturally-occurring hallucinogen traditionally consumed orally for healing, ceremonial or religious uses.” Not only will the loss of the Wattle affect Australia’s natural ecology, but also those legitimate industries that produce bush tucker of which Wattle seed is a component. It’s unthinkable that the lovely Wattle flowers won’t be seen in spring. http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2011/01/26/outcry-over-ban-talk-wattle-floral-emblem/
October 10, 2010 in Uncategorized | Tags: bats, birds, Canterbury Council, Cook’s River Alliance, Cooks River, Cooks River Eco Festival, Cooks River Sustainability Initiative, Cooks River Valley Association, Critically endangered Long-nosed Bandicoots, environmental volunteering, Ewen Park, Flying Foxes, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Long-nosed Bandicoot territory, Mudcrabs, National Parks & Wildlife Service, palm leaf plates, rat bait and Long-nosed Bandicoots, St Vincent’s de Paul Lewisham, St Vincent’s de Paul Lewisham and Long-nosed Bandicoots, Stream Watch, the Greenway, The Greenway Festival, tree frogs, urban wildlife, ustralian Museum | Leave a comment
Today was the annual Cooks River Eco Festival & Ewen Park was filled with a few hundred people when we arrived. The food was great & for the first time we ate off palm leaf plates. They looked so good I thought we were meant to return them, but this was not the case, as the food seller was not allowed to reuse them. He encouraged people to take them home & reuse. It was such a good idea.
I saw my first Long-nosed Bandicoot (it was stuffed & on loan from the Australian Museum – see photo at the end of this post) & realized just how easy they could be mistaken for rats. They are about the same size or just slightly larger, stand a little taller with long back legs & an exceptionally long nose & delicate face. It’s worth checking before you put out rat bait if you live in the areas Long-nosed Bandicoots are known to live especially along the Greenway & around St Vincent’s de Paul & all their buildings & houses in Lewisham. Long-nosed Bandicoots are on the critically endangered list, so it wouldn’t take much to make them extinct south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
There were tree-people walking around on stilts & a very large Koala. The kids had great entertainment with story telling, theatre & an amazing wild-life show while we were there. A Wildlife Educator I presume was from the National Parks & Wildlife Service had a variety of animals, which she showed to the audience while teaching about their habitat & needs for survival. We saw a bat, a very large tree frog, a snake & a Tawny Frogmouth & apparently there were other animals as well. This is a particularly powerful way of educating children & adults as they can see the wildlife up close & get to realize that these are living, feeling creatures that need our protection. Hers is a dream job.
We did another solar power workshop while eating lunch because that’s what was on at the time & then went to look at all the stalls. Represented were Stream Watch, Cooks River Valley Association, Mudcrabs, the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative & the Greenway. They are all looking for more volunteers & their contact details can be found in the blogroll in the left-hand column. Volunteers can work at their own speed for as long as they like so this type of volunteering is open to almost everyone. So if the group is meeting for 2 hours work, but you are not well enough to do this long, you can join in & do easier jobs for a shorter length of time. Everyone is welcome.
There were also stalls from Canterbury Council educating about the environment, the Cooks River & recent environmental restoration work along the river. There were also stalls offering organic skin products & cleaning products & bikes that you could take for a ride along the Cooks River that were provided for free by Centennial Park.
I was told of a recently built wetland further up the Cooks River at Riverwood so we may go & have a look some time soon. Let’s hope the Cook’s River Alliance gets off the ground with participation from all the Councils along the length of the Cooks River. This is one place where each section of the river impacts on the others so cooperation is vital.
The Greenway Festival lasts for another week. Details of other events are on their website – http://www.greenway.org.au/index.php?option=com_eventlist&view=eventlist&Itemid=107
September 7, 2010 in Urban wildlife | Tags: Australian native birds, Bat dispersal Sydney, bird cull, birds, Cocktoos eat Sydney, Flying Foxes, Inner West Courier, National Parks & Wildlife Service, shooting birds in Inner Sydney, Sulphur Crested cockatoo cull, Sydney, Sydney Campus Apartments Broadway, urban wildlife | 1 comment
I don’t know what is happening to Sydney in regards to native wildlife. First we have the eviction of the flying-foxes from Sydney’s Botanical Gardens given to the go-ahead, now it seems that it’s okay as well to shoot Cockatoos in Broadway.
The National Parks & Wildlife Service have given permission for up to 20 Sulphur Crested cockatoos to be shot. Why? Well it’s because the birds are causing damage to the façade of the Sydney Campus Apartments in Broadway.
I say, Shame on you National Parks & Wildlife Service. You should have said no. Shame on the owner of the Sydney Campus Apartments. If you change the material on the façade, this will stop. The birds aren’t eating the rest of the buildings all over Sydney.
Thanks to the Inner West Courier for notifying the community about this disgusting, shameful decision. To read the full article – http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/outrage-over-cockatoo-cull/
August 18, 2010 in Tree news | Tags: bats, birds, Civic Park Newcastle, climate change, CO2 sequestration, community campaigns, community consultation, Flying Foxes, invasive roots, Laman Street Figs, Laman Street Newcastle, Newcastle, Newcastle Art gallery, Newcastle City Council, NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Pashar Bulka storm, Save Our Figs, tree removal, tree replacement, trees and public injury risk, urban forest, urban wildlife | 2 comments
On Tuesday 17th August 2010 7 out of 12 Newcastle City Councillors went down in history as being the crew who voted to remove the 14 iconic, beautiful & very healthy Hills Figs outside the Newcastle Art Gallery along Laman Street Newcastle.
Why, because Newcastle Council says they are dangerous & are likely to fall. Except around 6 weeks ago, they had the NSW Governor Marie Bashir chauffeur-driven to the door of the Art Gallery & the official car remained parked under the killer trees for the evening.
Of course nothing happened. Nor did anything happen with the Pashar Bulka storm that produced incredibly high winds & caused much destruction throughout Newcastle. Nor did anything happen with the 2 recent bad storms & high winds that hit Newcastle.
If you want to read a story of intrigue, lack of transparency, weird ideas, healthy trees with no roots, a community being run rings around, I’d recommend spending the evening reading Save Our Figs & Other Trees of Newcastle – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/ & the post written on the night of Newcastle Council’s decision – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/i-know-where-you-can-get-some-good-mulch-17-8-2010/#more-2047
The very last option Newcastle Council gave the community was a single row of Liquid ambers. Really? A tree known to have large invasive roots that also grow near the surface. They are very large deciduous trees that not only drop a very large amount of leaves in Autumn, they also drop a large amount of round spiked seeds that do not decay well leaving ‘lumps’ under lawns. Liquid ambers are also known to drop branches easily in storms.
These trees will not provide food for the numerous flying-foxes & birds that used the Laman Street Figs as a home & source of food for many decades.
How will replacing the 14 Hills Figs with very large trees known to have large & invasive roots improve the situation? How would tons of leaves dropping outside the Art Gallery in Autumn improve the situation? Wouldn’t the leaves & ball-like seeds create a public injury risk? Wouldn’t a tree known to drop branches during storms create a public injury risk? This idea was a good as grinding the trees into stumps & carving them into famous Newcastle citizens. See – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-plan-to-turn-newcastles-laman-street-figs-into-sculpted-stumps/
Now they say they will replace the current Hills Figs with a single row of Hills Figs down the centre of the road, but don’t say when this will happen.
Newcastle City Council received 400 submissions about this Laman Street Figs from the community. 96% of those people said, “Keep the Figs.” They were ignored. I predict the community is going to go ape about this & Newcastle City Council will get the lumber jacks in as fast as possible to end the matter for good, except people have long memories.
My original post about the Laman Street Figs can be found here – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/newcastles-iconic-laman-street-fig-trees-at-risk/
You can read the follow-up post written on 1st September 2010 about the Independent Arborist Report by clicking here – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/independent-arborist-report-for-newcastles-laman-street-figs/