One of our main aims, apart from achieving pollution-free self-sufficiency is
to restore the forest that was destroyed here nearly 100 years ago as a result
of barbarian and ignorant policy of the Australian government.
The policy was that unless people cleared their land from trees, the land was
taken away from them. What followed was a systematic destruction of forests on
a large scale. Trees were cut down, rolled to gullies and set on fire to burn
for months. What an achievement !!!
If you feel like doing something to restore the forest for future generations
you can give us a hand. You are welcome to come here to Mt Best for a few days.
We will provide accommodation, meals and thought provoking conversation in return
for your help. Tasks include work in our native plant nursery, fencing, weed control
and planting trees, depending on season and the phase of the project. Please call
Tom on (03) 5681 6361 for more information.
We plan to gradually re-forest about 50 out of 63 ha of our property. While we
applied for some grants to assist us in getting the necessary supplies, we need
to contribute many years of our own labor.
Everyone knows how to destroy the forest. However, contacts with
experts, local officials and those who tried reveal that no one
really knows how to restore a forest eco-system from scratch.
The main challenges are:
- Animal grazing. Animals, both native and introduced, simply LOVE young trees.
It is their best food. Some of our neighbors re-planted thousands of trees 4
times over only to find out that not a single tree survived. For this
reason it becomes necessary to restrict animal access to reforestation areas by
appriopriate fencing until forest vegetation becomes sufficiently established.
In the mountainous terrain at Mt Best this is the most costly and the most laborious
part of the project.
- Weeds. They grow faster than trees. If they are not controlled in some way,
they win. Eliminating or minimizing the use of toxic chemicals in weed control
requires a lot of lateral thinking combined with lots of manual labor.
- Abused soil. After decades of chemical fertilization and compacting by cattle,
the soil is hard, acid, biologically inactive and infertile. On slopes it doesn't
hold water. Water simply runs down leaving plants starving for moisture and nutrients.
As our climate quickly becomes hotter and drier, this problem needs to be addressed
Unlike some state forests, our forest will never be cleared,
simply because the owners of the land are committed to take care