Incentives to protect paddock trees

Wednesday 20 March, 2019
In what has been declared the official Year of the Paddock Tree, funds have been made available to farmers to protect scattered trees.

The move follows the release of a study which revealed that only three per cent of remnant vegetation has been retained in the Goulburn Valley, compared with pre-European settlement.

Land Health coordinator with the Goulburn Broken CMA Helen Murdoch said landowners were encouraged to seek funding to preserve their trees.

“We are actively encouraging people to apply for funding and we want landowners to think about the work they could do to look after paddock trees and remnant vegetation on their properties,” Ms Murdoch said.

She said farmers and landowners shouldn’t be deterred for fear the application process would be too arduous.

“We’ve tried really hard to make the process as flexible and streamlined as possible,” she said.

“We have officers or staff through our Landcare networks who will visit properties and sit down with landholders to have a conversation about what they’d like to achieve.”

Koyuga landowner Kevin L’Huillier watched with sadness as a 300-year-old Black Box tree slowly died in his front paddock.

“The tree is dead but because we managed to secure funding to fence it off, new trees have been able to germinate and take root around it,” Mr L‘Huillier said.

“I like to say that the tree still lives, even though it’s come to the end of its life as a grand old paddock tree, it lives on in the new trees around it,” he said.

Mr L’Huillier said he was motivated to apply for funding due to his firm belief that 30 per cent of his farm should be given over to native plants and wildlife.

“I was shocked when I looked at a satellite image of our farm and saw that we weren’t even at five per cent, even though we’d already planted a lot of trees,” he said.

“It just highlighted how much further I had left to go and the funding enabled me to start working towards my target.”

While Mr L’Huillier carried out most of the work on his property, he said the grant would have extended to cover the cost of contractors.

“I think The Year of the Paddock Tree is a great initiative. They can’t live forever and it’s time we looked after the ones we have left and start planting new trees.”

For information about funding contact Helen Murdoch on 58 227700.