The Old Ram-Australia

True BYH Addict
Jan 18, 2011
Reaction score
G'day,I posted this elsewhere but thought you may enjoy and comment.

CARBON CAPTURE: “Is there a difference in the Carbon that comes from an English Oak, American Cottonwood and an Australian Eucalypt?”

For many decades now in Australia the focus has been on the planting of trees to reduce the impact of modern living on the environment. But there are elements in society whose “paranoia borders on hysteria “when it comes to species selection.

In our livestock production business I work on the principle of,”making the livestock fit the landscape, not the landscape fit the livestock”. So perhaps we should be trying to “make the trees fit the environment, not the environment fit the trees”. To explore this idea we must accept that the last 60 years of chemical agriculture has in the majority of cases changed our soils in a way which will take decades to reverse.

Australia evolved with probably the poorest soils in the world because over the bulk of the land Australia “rose” from the oceans and only in a few pockets was similar to the way the Northern hemisphere evolved. The vegetation also evolved to cope with this poor soil situation but in spite of these challenges we produced giant forests species which “flourished” in the lands that made up their home.

The onset of so called “modern agricultural systems” from the 50’s on resulted in major land clearing (which in some states continues today) and the application of artificial fertilizers increasing the normal levels of P/N to boost so called modern grasses production and this trend continues to this day, but in a “drying climate ”along with “global warming” these systems are actually failing in many circumstances because predictable rainfall has all but vanished and the use of valuable groundwater for irrigation will over time have to be foregone(IMO).

It seems to me that a time period of less than 60 years was never going to be enough time for our Native tree species to adapt to this new “rich” soil condition, so do we continue to “fight” nature an continue to plant our local Euc Viminalis into a hostile environment which results in “most” cases a stunted misshapen tree with none of the beauty of the naturally grown seedlings which we enjoy on our place. To provide context there has not been any Super spread on our place for 25 years or more, it was 10 years at least before we had grown and had had eaten by the sheep enough grass before the P/N levels had been sufficiently reduced to allow the seed bank to start to germinate and in some instances it still has not happened because the necessary reduction still has not advanced enough to let the germination to start.

Recently in another post when reflecting on our Woodland Regeneration journey I suggested that planting local Euc’s should be restricted to the “rocky outcrops” and along ridge tops where “leaching” of the excess P/N naturally occurs first. So it would seem to me, if your objective is to reduce nutrient load runoff into local streams and the like why would you not plant tree species that “hunger” for this extra food and at the same time create a carbon store, stock shade and shelter and to moderate the speed and damage from both “hot and cold” winds over the adjacent grasslands.

Please Note: I am just a long time farmer with almost “no” formal education but a keen observer of the landscape and its effects on our sheep farming operation, because it’s the land and its health that determines the profitability of our farm.


Herd Master
Aug 22, 2010
Reaction score
Northeast Texas
You don’t have to have a PHD to figure out what is healthy for your land. A lifetime of observation is worth more than any sheaf of theory papers from some over educated Johnny Come Lately. You are a good steward of God’s land.