Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, June 23, 2008

Robertson Nature Reserve - pine trees removed

At the entrance to the Robertson Nature Reserve there is a stand of about 10 huge old Pine Trees (Pinus radiata). They dominate the north side of the Reserve. As you can see, they tower over my little car, and the other native trees near the roadside edge of the Nature Reserve. One of these trees split and dropped a huge branch across South Street on 2 November 2007. I reported on this at the time.

Now the National Parks and Wildlife Service which manages the Nature Reserve has contracted for the removal of some of these trees, and the pruning of the limbs of some other trees which have been assessed as a safety risk. This work has commenced today, and is scheduled to last all week. Judging by the size of these trees, I am not surprised.

They are operating with an operator working from a "cherry picker", and with a 20 tonne crane, which is being used to lift and swing down to safety the large branches, as they are cut. This is a good process, which will minimise risk to workers, passers by and also to the rest of the vegetation in the Nature Reserve. Naturally the road (South Street) is subject to periodic closures, and "tidal flows" (Stop/Go signs controlled by workers) at times when half of the road (only) is open.
This work will result in some reduction in the Pine Cone feed supply for the resident Black Cockatoos, but as an environmentalist, i would have to declare that a good thing. We all know the Black Cockies love to chew the Pine cones, but in so doing they spread the seeds. Robertson does not need any more Pine Trees (25 metre high weeds) being spread about by the Black Cockies.

The NPWS Press Statement is as follows:

Robertson Nature Reserve Pine Trees
The National Parks and Wildlife Service has recently had a safety assessment done on the large introduced pine trees in Robertson Nature Reserve. A number of these pines were found to be in a state of significant decay and they may pose a safety risk for the public.

The Service also commissioned a heritage assessment of the introduced pines that included historical research and interviews with a number of Robertson residents with knowledge of the trees.

As a result of the recommendations of these assessments, the Service intends to remove some trees and prune the limbs of others that have been assessed as a safety risk.

A separate environmental assessment found that there would be no negative impacts on native species of flora or fauna in the Nature Reserve by removing the pine trees. There was some concern that the pines may have had a population of tree orchids growing on them, but it was found that these are actually a type of small fern that is common in the Nature Reserve. After the pines are removed, the site will be monitored for new weed growth due to increased light reaching the forest floor after the removal of the trees.

If possible, a disc of timber cut out of the trunk of one of the trees will be presented to the Robertson Museum.

The Reserve will be closed to visitors from Monday 23/06/08 to Friday 28/06/08.

If you require any further information please call the NPWS Highlands Area Office on 48878244.

End of NPWS Press Release.

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