Most of us living in this part of beautiful Tasmania have a little area of land around our place of abode, in which we have some plants that add to our sense of well being, provide us with satisfaction, and generally make our lives just that bit more pleasant. The land might be your paddock, your bush or just a bit near your house – it doesn’t really matter, it’s all your backyard.
Hopefully, most of the plants are native, at least to Australia, if not to our local area. In your backyard, you would want to have some flowering plants, a bit of lawn perhaps, maybe some vegies, and some trees nearby. Birds will come in to control your insect pests, or other insects will do that for you; we all know that almost works, but sometimes you might need to help nature along a bit. Some of the more canny of us know that native plants will attract more native birds, to do a lot of the work for us.
Our heritage has left us with a problem: we like pretty flowers, and unusual trees, and many other plants from faraway places. Our ancestors, from wherever they came, liked to have some of “home” nearby, something familiar. We still plant these foreign species in our land, and many of them acclimatise, finding a niche in their new environment and sometimes doing very well. If this was not the case, we would have few of the pasture grasses, vegetables, and useful grains that feed us.
It is the uncontrolled plants that cause us such anxiety, at least to those of us who comprehend the damage that these uncontrolled escapees can do. Much of Landcare’s activity is based around controlling the escapees and assisting nature to take back what we have allowed them to damage. Thousands of hours of labour have been spent, trying our hardest to defeat these pests, and making the land productive, stable, and beneficial again.
Imagine the pain that is felt by those that care when someone thoughtlessly throws out a pile of weed-ridden waste into some bush, just encouraging the weeds to spread and take over. Imagine the frustration when someone clears land outside their boundary and plants something that is known to be a real pest, because it grows quickly and vigorously and often takes over. Some people have even been known to “extend” their backyards, clearing someone else’s land and plant such weeds in it!
This sort of theft has been occurring in our local area. The theft is from you. Land owned by the public is being cleared, weeds and “decorative” species planted, along the foreshores of several coastal towns. Bushland and coastal dune plants are being cleared out from adjacent houses, and weeds planted. Insidiously, some people will actually plant foreign plants in native forests, in reserves. This is not their backyard, but yours.
It is almost as bad as those people who remove trees and bush on someone else’s land, to “improve their view”. It is your backyard that they are clearing.
What can be done to stop this theft and vandalism? Report anything like this you see to local Council? Mention it to your local Councillor? Tell all of your friends what the person is doing? Put a picture of it on line?
Maybe someone will care. Landcare does…
For more information on the ‘Creeping Backyard’ issue, Cradle Coast NRM has published the following brochure;