Smiths’ Plantings a Gift for Future Generations
This article is part of a series kindly provided to us by Trees For Life.
Jamie Smith’s family were environmental enthusiasts who instilled in him the need for the retention and incorporation of vegetation in farming practices.
That was in the early 1980s.
His family has since planted an estimated 20,000 native trees on their 2400ha property.
Jamie, who runs Dema Vista Pty Ltd in Maitland, has been a member of Trees For Life (TFL) since 1998, enabling him to access heavily subsidised native seedlings in order to carry out revegetation projects on his property.
“Over the years the Central Yorke Peninsula region has been extensively cleared and apart from some roadside vegetation, many of our properties have been denuded of any natural vegetation,” Jamie said.
“The small pockets of remnant vegetation were getting weak and not regenerating and we noticed certain species such as Eucalyptus porosa (mallee box) were under threat from the mistletoe parasite. We have used TFL seedlings to specifically reinvigorate these areas of remnant vegetation.”
Seedlings have also been used for windbreaks, shelterbelts and to establish wildlife corridors.
“Our livestock program has benefited enormously from effective windbreak and shelterbelts. We have also embarked on an extensive saltbush program on our Warulttee property as a natural autumn fodder store for our sheep enterprise,” Jamie said. “The development of wildlife corridors between remnant vegetation has been an added benefit of the windbreak and stock shelter program.”
Apart from saltbush, other species they’ve planted have included Eucalyptus socialis (summer red mallee), Acacia microcarpa (manna wattle), Acacia notabilis (notable wattle) and Melaleuca lanceolata (dryland tea tree).
“The aesthetic appeal and shelter benefits have been enormous; also the health of remnant vegetation areas has improved greatly.”
As well as subsidised seedlings, a special feature of the Tree Scheme Program is that landholders are matched with volunteers – many of whom live in Adelaide – who grow their specific seedlings. More than 30 million seedlings have been raised this way for landholders throughout South Australia, resulting in many great friendships between city and rural families.
“Over the years we have had many different growers and we have had a few visit the property to see the results. It has resulted in some great friendships. One grower that has grown for us for many years is Russell Campbell from Kadina,” Jamie said.
Although now a seasoned hand at re-vegetation and conservation, Jamie said anyone thinking about heading down the environmental path should do so: “the benefits are real and are a gift to future generations”.
And he does have some advice for those starting out.
“Do your homework on the proposed area (of re-vegetation) and species selection. Consider the benefits in the longer term, prepare areas a year in advance, get weed control right, use a good planting method, investigate grants to help with fencing, exclude stock from re-vegetation areas and control vermin and pests.”
If you’re interested in re-vegetating your property, phone Trees For Life on (08) 8406 0500.