Latest news

Book review, March 2014
Our Once and Future Planet.

Paddy Woodworth, 2013, University of Chicago Press  NEARLY ten years ago the experienced journalist Paddy Woodworth became tired of reporting on the Basque separatist movement and Irish arts scene and was intrigued by the new and positive-sounding concept of ‘ecological restoration’. The result is a thoughtful and robust analysis of ecological restoration. It is also a challenge to restorationists to engage more deeply with the wider world… Read more »

Pesticide controls — an update from France

In January the French Assemblee Nationale1 confirmed the Senate law banning pesticide use in public open spaces by 2020 and, by 2022, their sale to or possession by non-professional users. The law was discussed in December’s Indigenotes. Pesticides can still be used against noxious organisms as well as on railways, airports runways and freeways. Public areas such as public forests and National Parks trails can still be treated but must… Read more »

Merri Creek, Fawkner: Revisiting revegetation

Tony Faithfull and Brian Bainbridge have a continuous connection to the restoration of Merri Creek going back to 1988. An IFFA excursion to the Merri in Fawkner last December was an opportunity to reflect on the project’s history and its future with other IFFA folk. At the parking lot at Jukes Road, many of the group were surprised by the amount of open space. Tony revealed how a major… Read more »

There are moments when summer can seem a quiet time in the bush...

Many plants have died off or shriveled back to underground storage organs while many bird species have retreated to moister refuges. But don’t be fooled, summer is full of life if you look hard enough, as this is the most prolific time for most of our invertebrates. Like reptiles, invertebrates are ectotherms, meaning they can’t warm their body temperature like mammals and so rely on outside… Read more »

Is your plant ID accurate?
Part 1.

IN LATE 2012 IFFA and the NRM Providers Network carried out an online survey on plant identification skills intended for people working in ecological restoration (ER). The first analysis (on ‘demographics and the importance of plant skills in the respondents’ professional life) highlighted that plant skills are indeed crucial, with an overall rating of 9.3 out of 10. See Indigenotes May 2013 p5.  This article starts to explore ‘How do… Read more »

Reclaiming Green Tape
Green Tape (derogatory) — Time-consuming bureaucratic procedures or regulations relating to environmental concerns. (Source: Wiktionary).

A YEAR AGO, the then Federal Opposition coined a new term, marrying green (“environmentally friendly”) and red tape (“bureaucratic regulations”). The newly elected government and state governments have since enthusiastically applied the slogan of cutting ‘green tape’ to justify their efforts to ‘streamline’ environmental protection processes and promote economic development. It made for nice sound bites.1  Last October, Simon Copland, in… Read more »

Interesting times
We’re in interesting times as we are all getting to find out a little more about the new native vegetation regulations and how they are to work..

Offsets in short supply Although the front end of the new system has been slowly swinging into action, i.e. applications are now arriving and being processed by council, the same can’t be said for offset provision. It seems that whilst councils will be able to issue permits that require offsets to be provided to meet the new offset requirements, offset providers are yet to be informed about… Read more »

President’s letter

I regretfully set aside my natural tendency for optimism for this letter. In case you have not heard, in Victoria, biodiversity protection legislation is ‘critically endangered’.  In a pre-Christmas double-pronged attack, the badly flawed new vegetation protection processes (described in the last edition of Indigenotes) have been passed, and for good measure, for any site that still warrants it, DEPI has been shorn of its capacity to… Read more »

Certainly not stewardship
Letter to the editor.

Every year the Department of Sustainability and Environment plans a state-wide burn program. The planned burn program for 2012 was 225,000 hectares with 197,149 hectares successfully completed. According to the DSE’s website, the Victorian Government is committing to completing planned burns on 5% of public land – approximately 390,000 hectares. Ecological impacts of fire play a seemingly minor role in the decision making process. The majority of decisions lie with the intent to… Read more »

Certainly not stewardship
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Certainly not stewardship .

Every year the Department of Sustainability and Environment plans a state-wide burn program. The planned burn program for 2012 was 225,000 hectares with 197,149 hectares successfully completed. According to the DSE’s website, the Victorian Government is committing to completing planned burns on 5% of public land – approximately 390,000 hectares. Ecological impacts of fire play a seemingly minor role in the decision making process. The majority of decisions lie with the intent to… Read more »

Conservation in a crowded world

Conservation in a crowded world Report of a talk by Richard Fuller from the University of Queensland. Richard Fuller presented some of his research results around the relationship of people and biodiversity at the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne on November 23rd. Much of his work has great relevance to Melbourne’s planned expansion and to the design of green spaces in urban areas. Richard started by… Read more »

An insect diary from the suburbs Part 1
G’day Indigephiles. For the last two months I’ve been on a small game safari in the wilds of suburban Heathmont, pushing ever onwards to far corners of Melbourne. In between watching Alby Mangels brown-water rafting down Dandenong Creek and helping Harry Butler* pull his hand out of a hollow log, I’ve started a diary on some of the six legged fauna I’ve discovered out this way..

October 18 At the 100 Acres bushland in Park Orchards, Common Dusky Blue butterflies (Candalides hyacinthina) were very docile in the cold conditions, happily perching on my outstretched finger. The caterpillars of this butterfly feed on Dodder-laurels (Cassytha spp.) October 21 At Hotchkins Ridge (Exeter Ridge) in North Croydon, Spittle Bugs were found under their frothy “cuckoo-spit” shelters on various herbaceous plants – Senecio, Dianella, Dichopogon, Stylidium etc. They were also… Read more »

Hello HeHo
Friend of the Helmeted Honeyeater David Howell writes of the joy of introducing school children to the ‘HeHo’ and the habitat restoration work being done at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. He loves to get children involved because they have boundless energy, awareness and great observation skills once shown how to use their inherent senses..

I have been doing talks and plantings over the past several months and below is just a glimpse of a great day spent educating school children about the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater. I arrived at the depot shed after dropping off 500 tube stock, 30 Hamilton planters, buckets and other equipment at a convenient fork in the track leading to the planting site. I then checked the toilets were clean and… Read more »

Wildlife No bull
Take a slab of pasture, fold in propagation skills, a handfull of volunteer labour and simmer for twenty years, and you have my recipe for revegetation.

I purchased a two acre paddock that was an occasional home to a large bull in Lysterfield South in 1991. I was assured by the real estate agent the adjacent land could never be developed and would ultimately be purchased by the state government to join Churchill Park with Lysterfield Park. The block was elevated and exposed to the southwest in particular, with no vegetation except for scattered patches of… Read more »

Presidents letter
Speaking up for nature.

Skillful communication is a tool for saving nature. People who care about nature are often, by ‘nature’ thoughtful and quiet. These qualities help make them fantastic observers and empathic to the lives of the non-human world. Frequently these traits are associated with reticence to speak out in front of a crowd. Our shyness means we are happiest working in the background, doing the essential caretaking of our local … Read more »

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