Restoring the rainforest by eliminating invasive plants with a high-performance forestry mulcher
Bio logic Tree Services is a small private business in Lismore, on the northern coast of New South Wales, Australia. The owner, Benjamin Garland, works there with a team of 4. “We provide an arboricultural service that includes mulching, pruning and removing trees, chipping, and timber harvesting”, explains Benjamin.
They recently used their BL1/EX for a job at a very special worksite. “We were contacted by a customer in Goonengerry for a bush regeneration project on a property they own. We received some government grants to go towards the cost of the landcare conservation project and couldn’t wait to get started”, Benjamin recounts.
In Australia, “the bush” is the native forest, woodlands, or other a natural areas to often infested with weeds, degraded by lack of management, or threatened by non-native plants and animals. Today, the aim is more often to restore and maintain ecosystem health by helping the natural regeneration of indigenous plant species. This is achieved by taking down invasive species, removing overgrowth vegetation, to let indigenous plants thrive.
“In the locality of Goonengery, our work is restoring the “Big Scrub”, our local rainforest, which covered 75,000 hectares prior to European settlement. It was the largest expanse of lowland subtropical rainforest in Australia, Benjamin continues. “This forest is directly descended from the great Gondwana rainforest that covered Australia 40 million years ago. It is internationally significant. It is a very important part of Australia’s rich biodiversity heritage. Tragically, European settlers cleared almost 99% of this magnificent rainforest and, by the 1900s, all that remained was less than 1% as scattered remnants across the landscape”.
Forestry mulchers are a very versatile tool in bush and rainforest regeneration projects. They can clear large invasive plant infestations that would otherwise require extensive manual labor and herbicides. An added advantage is that forestry mulchers create minimal soil disturbance, return organic bio matter to the soil, and the mulch left behind helps reduce erosion. Ultimately improving forest and soil fertility.
“Our FAE BL1/EX is great for the invasive plants in our area”, Benjamin adds, “for example tobacco bush, lantana, camphor laurel and privet. It quickly shreds shrubs and saplings on uneven, difficult terrain. The FAE BL1/EX makes what seems impossible possible. With it we have been able to clear large tracts of environmental weeds to allow for natural regeneration of the native seed bank in the soil, follow-up tree planting and ongoing maintenance. Without a mechanized approach to invasive vegetation management, it is too much of a labor-intensive undertaking. In our subtropical climate, plant growth rates are exponential, and non-native species need to be systematically controlled; otherwise, they will continue to spread out of control.
We purchased the FAE BL1/EX very soon after it was released, realizing that it was exactly what we were looking for to fit our Hyundai CR60-9 excavator. We added priority valve function to the auxiliary hydraulics on the excavator to help maintain a stable hydraulic flow and the resulting rotor speed, and the open/close function for the rear door is controlled with buttons on the joystick. The Bite Limiter rotor is perfect for working on larger diameter stems without bogging down. We are currently using the Mini C/3 teeth, which can take quite a bit of punishment in the dirt and rocky ground”.
Benjamin’s final thoughts?
“I am super happy with the BL1/EX unit that has allowed my business to expand and grow into other areas. It helps our customers reclaim otherwise wasted land, conserve the environment and increase biodiversity. I have found other FAE products I’m interested in investing in, such as the PaTriziO, the SCL/HY, the RCU-55 and the RCU-75, that could work alongside the BL1/EX and help increase our productivity”.
Thanks to: bigscrubrainforest.org
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