Thursday, June 29, 2006

How much humus is good for the soil ?

Its all very well leaving lots of carbohides for the soil, but I like to see the grass grow - and so I trust, do the cows - esp at this time of the year . The chorus of concern, when I started raking up the oak leaves on the lawn this week reminded me of how much the public mood has swung towards preserving the largely undeserving. Humus
Keeping more of the plant residue has its downside. Besides humus can look after itself around here. If anything, in a wet climate like ours, its too persistent and a problem for ecosystem productivity . Not that we should be racist and treat all humuses the same.
The great crop of mushrooms we got this May was partly due to high root residue. Root residue that could have got into the mouths of the top feeders. So we are getting generous --and that's good for our soils isn't it ? To a point you bet !
As always, it is a matter of balance .
Take these oak leaves on the lawn. In the northern hemisphere, these highly effective killer leaves control ground growth so effectively that the oak forests thrive . The huge mulch effect is good for one plant and one plant only. Its seed so big its needs a pile of leaves to bury it . Ok, if you just want a forest full of frog leaves .
So you can have too much of a good thing. Creating excess carbs means something else you haven't counted may come and compete- like cockchafers have been doing too recently or some highly effective bacteria with guts . Nearly everybody in the household is looking for a free feed and a lot depends on what we hard working types want our real estate communities to be doing with all that sun derived sugar . By feeding the lower storeys, we can be risking the opportunity to feed the upper storeys. House hold leadership is about saying No sometimes!
Next time i won't go round raking up the fibre; I 'll smash those big fat persistent carbohides like the cows do --with a machinator called a mower .
That way, at least, I won't have the oaks trying to take over Australia and the passing public won't be worried that I am about to burn huge piles of their very effective little wafer brains. Copyright

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Plantation Planning -

Planning Scheme reviews- now on , but only just
For those concerned about things that are not well planned in the district, ( like dairy land conversions) there is still time to make submissions to Your Shire.
The common tendency to try and STOP THINGS at Appeal is very reactive,expensive and unreliable. There are better ways to get well planned landscape change . However it seems some sound method planning lessons will to have to be repeated before best practice is back on the to do today list: best practice is not always the latest new idea !!!

A better way than fighting nimby LIKE, is to map areas and make sure independant advice is provided to council BEFORE decisions get to far down the road.
What's old is new again
This is largely what the CEO of colac shire means when she talked recently about the importance of a new idea called preapplication consultaTion---new to some anyway.
The problem is that this important job, while it was done constistently up until a few years ago is no longer happening, even it had been for the first thirty years of our conservation departments history.Maps and GIS are "more imp"??? who knows?
Speak up and make history by making history lessons less critical .
As a matter of interest , I started the first GIS liasson group in 1991. Five shires and the State rep was involved . The blurb made a point I wanted the other planners to be ready for --from their managers - that mere maps would largely only remind us how little we knew;( even now the latest maps I have produced used over 110 layers and they were still elementary in impact on decisionmaking determinants ) biodiversity and risk planning maps were plain dangerous in the hand of non integrators . You only had to watch how administrators easily abused the risk maps I produced for Lorne district in 1984 .

The big question In the last fifteen years , have we learnt how to best use process and better use maps . Don't ask me, unless you want the short answer.