National Tree Day events

Have you ever looked at South Australia from the air? What do you see? 

Have you travelled along it's rural roads? What do you observe?

Here's an experience that has always stayed with me.

One of the most disturbing images I've seen of a degraded landscape was way back in the late 1970's when I viewed an aerial photograph (in black and white) of land that was under pastoral lease. (This image was presented in a Planning Diploma course I was undertaking).

The pastoralist was under so much pressure to repay his loans that he thought the only way out was to keep building up his flock. The end-result was total devastation of the land. It was a spiral downwards, into a deep chasm of debt, despair, and destruction.

Today, both Google Earth and Nature Maps give us wonderfully clear images of the landscape. In the agricultural lands of South Australia, it is disturbing, sometimes shocking, to see the extent of land clearance. It can conjure up many questions - Why? How? What can be done?

Vegetation clearance & land condition

There was a massive human effort from about the 1850's to clear land for agriculture and to harvest wood for fuel (see this article, A Touch of History). It mostly ended in 1983 when land clearance controls began to be introduced in South Australia. But the damage had already been done by that time. 

Whole ecosystems had been wiped out, plant and animal species had become extinct, and nature was exerting its force in heavier doses. The erosive scars across the land surface attest to this, as do all the other problems that afflict the land. 

I've outlined some of these in the article Agricultural Land Condition.

I've also written extensively on the landscape condition, particularly with reference to the Mid North, in a series of articles.

However, there is one report that stands out above many others - Report On The Condition Of Agricultural Land in SA 2004. And there's another No Species Loss.

The critical factor of all, however, is farm system instability. I suspect that few people would understand this concept. Perhaps it's because of the inherent human condition of placing a higher order on economic development than on environmental care. This condition belongs to us all. Some are able to come to grips with it better than others.

What has all this got to do with National Tree Day?

It is about the human condition, about a mindset, that what we have inherited from our forebears is not what we should hand on to future generations. 

And so, because of the power of tiny increments, of planting a tree or shrub into lands where they once belonged, and thrived, but have now been erased, that is how change can be made. It is of taking action not once, not twice, but over and over again.

It is about an attempt to assist with creating system stability, no matter how small the increments and how long they take to grow.

That is why people get involved in National Tree Day. 

As a member of The Seedy Lot, I've taken on organising an annual tree planting day involving volunteer growers and planters. The Seedy Lot is the major sponsor of our National Tree Day event.

Come and join the merry band of landscape restorers.

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