Live Green

Resource Newsletter - WINTER 2019

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2 RE-SOURCE I WINTER 2019 Sensitive land use activities Private land plays a critical role in preserving our environment. The actions of landholders can have major impacts on the state of our environment locally and regionally. Hume's planning controls prohibit, restrict or require careful management of land uses and activities that may cause environmental degradation. A planning permit may be required for land use activities depending on where or why the activities are proposed. Some regulated activities include: ■ Removal, felling, destruction or lopping of native vegetation, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. ■ Waste and refuse disposal (e.g. construction and demolition waste). ■ Receipt, importation, stockpiling or placement of more than 100 cubic metres of fill, soil or rock. ■ Modifying escarpments or slopes, through benching, grading and excavating. ■ Buildings or works in highly sensitive areas, such as those protected by planning overlays. For further information on Hume's biodiversity or planning controls, contact Council on 9205 2200. Scattered farm trees, a valuable resource Scattered farm trees are a distinctive feature of many Hume properties, from centuries old gnarled paddock trees, to young naturally regenerating trees in rested paddocks. Despite these trees appearing quite isolated, they can provide a range of benefits to properties and the environment. Many landholders use rows of trees to reduce windspeeds known as shelterbelts or windbreaks; however, scattered trees can also have a similar effect. When wind encounters paddock trees, it causes air turbulence, which slows the wind speed beyond the tree. If more trees are encountered afterwards, the windspeed continues to stay lower. Because of this, frequent scattered trees can create an area of lower air speed. This benefits farms by reducing spray drift, improving growing conditions for pasture and crops, providing livestock shelter, and improves the conditions for beneficial insects. Scattered farm trees can also provide a refuge for wildlife. Birdlife typically avoids flying across open farms, preferring instead to fly between patches of trees. Therefore, trees on farms act like a wildlife corridor and encourages an increase in local bird populations. This can be beneficial to farms with many species feeding on pest insects. Trees also provide food and habitat for a range of beneficial insects that can provide a source of pest control, pollination and soil-improving decomposition. Paddock trees also improve soil quality. Due to the large amount of leaves and bark dropped by old growth farm trees, soils underneath and surrounding trees become sources of nutrients and soil- improving microorganisms. Leaf litter also increases the moisture holding capacity of the soil and reduces erosion.

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