Random holiday Stuff 27.12.2010


Took No 2 child (who is less able to assert herself than No 1) for a walk to the boardwalk through Kooragang Wetlands last weekend and can recommend it on a number of levels, not least of which are that it’s flat and it’s free.

There’s a single remaining ancient-looking rainforest tree that’s not a mangrove and the chance to imagine what the place was like before European colonisation was worth the trip. A forest of mangroves look amazingly alike.

Mind you, in the last couple of years I’ve learned to appreciate mangroves much more than I used to and they’re amazing trees once you start reading about them. It’s one of those topics I could talk about for a whole 45 seconds, having concentrated on (but forgotten) the articles that people post on twitter.

The following is from the website of the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (the emphasis is mine):

‘Mangroves are sometimes seen as muddy swamps infested with mosquitoes and crocodiles. Removing mangroves was once seen as a sign of progress. So, what is the point of preserving them?

For a start, an estimated 75 per cent of fish caught in Queensland spend some time in mangroves or depend on food chains that can be traced back to these coastal forests…

Mangroves protect the coast by absorbing the energy of storm-driven waves and wind. The only two yachts undamaged by Cyclone Tracy in Darwin in 1974 were sheltered in a mangrove creek. In 2006, mangroves protected vessels and the coastline during Cyclone Larry in far north Queensland: the damage bill would have been much higher if not for the existence of intact mangrove forests. As well as providing a buffer for the land, mangroves also interact with the sea. Sediment trapped by roots prevent silting of adjacent marine habitats where cloudy water might kill corals or smother seagrass meadows. In addition, mangrove plants and sediments have been shown to absorb pollution, including heavy metals. Mangroves are also very effective at storing carbon.

Worldwide, vast tracts of mangroves have been destroyed to make way for unsustainable development; Queensland still has relatively large areas of Australia’s tallest and best-developed mangroves.’

Reading tweets from a fantastic website called Mongabay you could be forgiven for feeling depressed about disappearing mangroves, but One just gives Oneself a shake and remembers that knowledge is power and there’s time to wake up to ourselves.

Another interesting website I’ve been reading is (52.5 KB) rubbersidewalks.com This is a US company that uses recycled tyres to make footpaths and has an interesting page on the benefits of trees (42KB). It has some gorgeous photos – I’d love to know if they’re reliable. I know I chose a floor once that I still have and still hate, mostly because of a lovely photo, impatience and poor research…

There’s a section (16.3KB) that shows roots under the rubber footpath versus roots under concrete: the difference is amazing. I must do an arboricultural course: the website talks about root pruning, which is, I am sorry to say, something I know nothing about. It sounds like a terrible idea, but feel free to educate me. The product certainly seems to be something worth looking into.

And the last thing worth talking about today is tree removal notifications. North Sydney Council has a document online that I have written about before; it begins with a great preamble that says

Removal or non-removal of trees from nature strips and parks is potentially the greatest cause of conflict in the management of the Council’s trees. Understandably, residents become very attached to a tree that has been living and growing near their home for many years. North Sydney Council will assume that every tree, no matter how insignificant it may appear, has some value to someone.’


  I found a lovely poster (113KB) that the City of Pittsburgh attaches to any tree that it plans to remove (except in an emergency). Its title is ‘This Gentle Giant is Retiring’ and the poster is fixed to the tree for 21 days – better than the standard 7 days that most places seem to adhere to.

We’re going out into the fresh air, away from electronic screens, to go for a walk. And it’s going to cost me a bribe of some sort to ensure some company… Home

This pear tree is planted in a tiny park where a larger, shade-producing, native tree would have fitted



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One Response to “Random holiday Stuff 27.12.2010”

  1. Sean Freeman Says:

    You are quite right Caity the vegetation of our mangrove ecosystems is critical to the sustainable longterm function of the broader coastal environment. They really are the most amazingly well adapted plants for their incredibly hostile growing conditions.

    Very close to you is another wonderful site in the Hunter Wetlands centre..I went there back in 2009 on my way back to Queensland after the Arb conference at city hall.

    Hopefully you won’t get quite as much additional water as we have been getting up here in NQ and SEQ.

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