Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Disappointing

There is a mixed open forest habitat we visit regularly for moth and orthopteroid photography. It is unfenced and on ground that would not seem to support anything else. it is sandy soil that is always wet. There is an abundance of grass cover, mixed wiry native grasses and a number of introduced ones. There is a pungent herb that grows to about 1.2 m and, of course, scattered Lantana.
Buck Richardson photo
The locality, north of Mareeba. Dominant trees are Callitris, Melaleuca with a few scattered Eucalyptus.
You can imagine our surprise and dismay to find virtually every tree "ring-barked". This is a technique used in the Australian bush to kill trees cheaply and thoroughly. One can understand the importance of clearing the bush but it is sad when one sees it as graphically as it is here. If you look to the bottom of this photo, you will see a female cricket laying its eggs in the loose bark. More on this in a later blog.
 A single cut is all that is needed in smaller trees to disable and eventually kill them.
 Two cuts assure eventual death.
 We noted that larger trees were cut and given a dose of a poison of some sort.
All of the Paperbarks are festooned with little orchids, Dendrobium canaliculatum. These plants will flower in the next several months for the last time. Once their host tree dies, they are doomed as it will topple over ending the life of the orchid. In this small patch there are hundreds and hundreds of these plants, some growing on their hosts within a few centimetres of the ground. A very disappointing development.

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