Probably the first tree chair in Marrickville LGA.

Probably the first tree chair in Marrickville LGA.

Tucked away on the west side of the car park at the Addison Road Centre in Marrickville is a great example of retaining a part of a tree that needed to be removed, so that it lives on with another purpose, as well as continuing to benefit the environment.

The tree, that was a gorgeous mature Eucalypt, had decay at its base, probably caused by mechanical damage years ago.  When I originally saw the decay, I knew the tree would go, so was not surprised when I saw that it had been removed.  What did surprise me is what Addison Road Centre did with the tree.

The stump has been carved into a seat to take in the view of the beautiful trees, rather than face the car park.  I reckon this seat will be used often, especially during the weekly markets.  Also, the branches have been placed on the grass to form a border to the car park.

Adding wood to the environment is enormously beneficial.  The NSW Department of the Environment’s Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has listed removal of dead wood & dead trees as a ‘Key Threatening Process’ to the Australian environment.

In brief, the Scientific Committee has found that –

  • Removal of standing dead trees & woody debris on the ground caused by human activity is contributing to loss of biological diversity. This includes mulching wood & removing this from forests.  I think it would be fair to say a similar impact would happen in urban areas.
  • Local councils & other agencies also “tidy up” by removing dead wood & dead trees from their reserves & from along roadsides.”
  • Fallen or placed dead wood, as it is in this case, “provides important habitat for a suite of invertebrate species dependent on decaying wood for their survival. ……. Microbial organisms & fungi are also important in the breakdown of timber & recycling of nutrients back into the soil. Invertebrates can also feed on, or in wood-decomposing fungi.”

There is a push for local councils & the community to undergo a cultural change in their expectations for parks & other spaces to be tidy places.  This is because the tidiness actually removes habitat & food for a whole range of animals, birds, microorganisms, lichens, moss & fungi.

“The traditional urban green space is dominated by overly manicured garden-style spaces that do not necessarily benefit wildlife.  We should re-think this concept & get a bit messier in our parks by retaining some of the resources that are commonly frowned upon.” ~ Darren Le Roux – ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.

Decaying wood also plays a role in carbon storage. The decay process transfers some of the carbon stored in the tree, back into the soil, instead of into the atmosphere, where we don’t want it.

I have read the following statement many times, “There is more life in a dead tree than a living one.”   It stands to reason that we need to keep as many dead trees in our environment as possible.   If, as in the case of this tree, it is not safe to keep the actual tree, then retaining both the trunk & the branches onsite, will do much to help the ecosystem & biodiversity in this area.

Well done Addison Road Centre. The chair is fun & a little bit quirky.  It’s great to see trees used in this way, rather than put through the mulching machine.   Plus this tree will go on benefiting the environment by supporting biodiversity for a few years to come & this is really good.  It sets a good example to us all.

Branches used to make the car park.

Branches used to edge the car park.