Connecting with old paddock trees: Guildford
Posted on 5 February, 2021 by Ivan
We were lucky enough to tour Guildford and surrounds this week, hosted by passionate local character and historian Max Kay (who also happens to be Connecting Country’s Treasurer), and his daughter and photographer Gen Kay. Our aim was to capture an array of photographs featuring the local landscape, threats and some of the natural assets of our region. The photographs are to be used in our upcoming Healthy Landscapes Guide, which is about helping our local farmers and other landholders manage their land sustainably for the benefit of farms, wildlife, and broader landscape health.
Another highlight of the tour was a visit to long-serving Guildford and Upper Loddon Landcare President and local legend Maurie Dynon, who has an amazing knowledge of the region and the restoration efforts over the past few decades. Maurie has preserved many of the large native trees on his property, including a Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) he estimates to be over 500 years old.
Well done Maurie, it is still growing strong and looking healthy. The large old trees we visited in Guildford on private property were a mix of Yellow-Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) and Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa). The trees are a stunning example of valuable habitat and Indigenous cultural heritage, and what can be achieved if these trees are protected and encouraged to exist within farming landscapes. Maurie kindly invited us to photograph the large scar tree near his dam which he learned is a canoe tree when he had it assessed and registered.
We are lucky enough to have old paddock trees in our shire, with many of them hundreds of years old. They provide critical resources for wildlife including hollows which are slow to develop taking more than a hundred years to form, and as such are a limited resource in surrounding regenerating woodlands and forests.
Paddock trees are associated with an increase in the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators and natural pest control agents. Native microbats, lizards, and birds will prey on common farm pests, and many of these species use paddock trees for roosting, nesting and foraging due to their thick bark, large canopies, and often heavy flowering.
Please enjoy a selection of photographs, taken on the day, with more to come from professional photographer Gen Kay. Photos by Ivan Carter.
Healthy Landscapes guidebook
The guidebook will cover practical topics such as:
- Reading your landscape: Assessing a property to identify natural assets (e.g., remnant vegetation and large old trees), threats (e.g., weeds, overgrazing, erosion), the need for shade and shelter for stock.
- Property planning: Whole-property planning tailored to landholder needs and aspirations, to protect and enhance natural assets, increase farm productivity, reduce threats and build farm resilience.
- Managing soil and water: Identifying soil types, managing soil erosion, building soil carbon, managing farm dams as habitat, fencing waterways and off-stream watering to improve water quality.
- Promoting biodiversity: Fencing remnant vegetation, grazing exclusion, revegetation techniques, selecting revegetation areas and plants to achieve landscape connectivity, enhance remnant vegetation, protect soil and shelter stock.
- Managing threats: Weed and pest animal identification, control methods, integrated pest management, staying ahead of new and emerging weeds using the latest online tools.