Implementation of the Auria methods.
A tradition has built up for growing oil mallees in rural WA as there are species that are well-suited to the many different soil types. They are invariably planted in blocks of four or six rows, but in these scenarios, every oil mallee will compete with it’s neighbours for exactly the same nutrients. Such a planting will appeal to a very limited number of species of insects and birds, whereas one should be encouraging as wide a diversity as possible, to maintain a healthy balance. Thus one concept that has been developed is to plant rows of oil mallees alternately with rows of acacias and rows of melaleucas, both of which can also have income potential. There is virtually no limit as to number of species that can be incorporated within the designs to good effect.
The oil mallees have a very limited income potential, so to further improve this, sandalwood can be grown in association with the acacias, while also deriving additional benefits from the oil mallees and the melaleucas. By growing the different species in individual rows, they are easy to harvest, which should be undertaken over different time frames so the environmental benefits that are achieved are not set back.
It is of paramount importance that the varieties of oil mallees, acacias and melaleucas are well-suited to the soil type, which might well change along the length of the planting.
The effectiveness of a wind break is determined by it’s height and density, thus it is suggest that to further improve the effectiveness of the belts in this regard, several rows be included in the middle of the belts, planted with a local species of taller timber trees, together with a wide diversity of understory.
Not everyone will want to grow oil mallees, but it is simply a matter of adapting the principles to other varieties of trees.
Most researchers, farmers and foresters over-look the importance of biodiversity, but there is a growing recognition of it being a pre-requisite for growing trees and indeed all crops. A well-balanced planting of trees will attract an abundance of insects, birds and animals etc and that is required if flowers on a range of plants/crops are to be fertilised If one thinks of the nutrients contained within a slow-release fertiliser pellet, one will have a better understanding of the role of insects and birds. Nature designed for there to be ‘symbiotic relationships’ between plants, insects, birds and animals etc.. Thus plants and trees provide insects with nutrients, and are retained in balance by other insects and birds that eat them. The birds then poop highly concentrated nutrients over the countryside, in surprisingly large quantities. It is little wonder that belts of trees provide untold benefits for crops grown between them – is it asking too much to plant belts of trees on a modest 5% of your land?