Paddock tree field day
OUR paddock trees are dying.
The graceful monsters that distinguish our grassy woodland landscapes could all be dead within a human generation.
With them will go many of the benefits they bring to our farming enterprises as well as the aesthetic pleasure they bring to locals and tourists.
Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network (CMN) recently held a field day to consider the benefits of and threats to paddock trees as well as actions landowners could take to protect and replace them when they do die.
About 35 people attended the twilight field day in the Pranjip Creek valley near Longwood.
Kim Wilson from the Euroa Arboretum outlined the importance of paddock trees and the threats they faced.
Most of the larger trees in our landscape are likely to be more than 200 years old pre-dating the arrival of Europeans.
The trees provide important ecosystem services that benefit landowners.
Kim said that as well as making sure we nurture replacement trees it was important to keep the trees in the landscape even after they die because the hollows will continue to provide refuge for birds and other wildlife.
Beatrix Spencer talked to the group about her work at The University of Melbourne on perceptions of paddock trees and how often landowners had different reasons for valuing trees than scientists.
She said it was important to understand the aesthetic and cultural value of trees as well as scientific values.
The evening wound up with a fascinating presentation by Dr Lindy Lumsden from the Arthur Rylah Institute who introduced the group to the world of bats and the important role they play in our landscapes.
With the current over abundance of mosquitos, everyone was hoping the bats would do their work and eat the annoying mossies.
Lindy talked about the range of bats that are present in our landscape, what they do and how to recognise when they are around.
She also set up some electronic ‘bat call’ sensing gear to show people how active small bats were in the evening.
This was the final event of the popular Strathbogie Ranges CMN New and Parttime Landowner series for 2016. With support from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority the series will return in 2017.