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Posted by Chris McLeod over 8 years ago

This week, I've had a 20 tonne excavator helping out!

Hi all,

 

There's nothing like harnessing the power of a 20 tonne excavator to really get some serious earthworks done.

 

With all the rain last over the past 14 months (all 1,800+ mm), I've decided that the driveway had to be rebuilt with all of the excess water flowing into the food forest where it can do some good. I also had some swales cut in which I'll plant out over the next week or so and cleaned up the remanants of old forestry operations - they'd left an elephants graveyard of stumps which they were too lazy to burn off or use. They were partly burned though which made them more or less indestructible as they were coated in a thick coating of carbon. They're also hard wood and at 700kg/m3 and often over a metre in diametre and 3 metres long they're heavy.

 

The original trees were probably several hundred years old. There is very little forestry operations in the Macedon Ranges these days which is both a good and bad thing. Good in that it allows the over storey trees a chance to grow to their full height again (somewhere about 90 metres). Bad in that there is little to no thining of the regrowth forest which has grown up since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983. It's quite a complex problem, because if you have too thick a forest, the over storey never gets a chance to properly establish it's dominance because of the competition for nutrients and water. Again if the forest is too thick with eucalyptus regrowth then it is very vulnerable to bushfire and worse all the support speices never get a chance to establish. The support speices are all the nitrogen fixing under storey plants like acacia melanoxylon etc. This affects the quality of the soil and the overall resiliency of the forest during extreme weather events - which we seem to be getting more of recently.

 

Any remanants of the burning off are spread around the property. It should also be pointed out that the regrowth eucalyptus trees also harbour little to no animal life. The reason for this is because the leaves are basically toxic because of the oil content and only the old trees have hollows which provide homes for the animals and birds.

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