Stringybark is tough as boots (and gave us the word ‘Eucalyptus’)

Few eucalypts are as versatile, varied and valuable as messmate stringybark. It was the first eucalypt to be scientifically named, and in fact gives us the name “Eucalyptus”.

Gum trees had been seen and collected on earlier expeditions, but a specimen collected on James Cook’s third expedition to Bruny Island off the Tasmanian coast was sent to the British Museum, where the French botanist Charles Louis L’Heritier de Brutelle named it and then published it in 1788.

L’Heritier named the specimen Eucalyptus obliqua, and so messmate stringybark is the first named and now type specimen for all Eucalyptus species. Because of the little caps covering the buds of this specimen, the name eucalypt was derived from the Greek eu, meaning “well”, and calyptos, meaning “covered”. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical or oblique leaf base gave us the description obliqua.

The name stringybark comes from the fibrous stringy bark that grows on the trunk of the tree, but no one knows the origins of the name messmate, which is also applied to several other eucalypt species.

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Another Plastic Trashed Island – Cocos Keeling Islands

Today it was reported that yet another of our formerly pristine remote islands has become completely trashed by plastic debris.

Scientific Reports today published research that shows that over 238 tonnes of plastic has been washed up onto the Cocos Keeling Islands.

Plastic pollution on Cocos Keeling Islands

Plastic is literally destroying our environment and single use plastic consumables make up a huge amount of the problem.

It is time that the Australian government act to remove as much single use plastic from our consumer economy as possible.

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Natural Sequence Farming is better for the Environment

Two hundred years of poor farming practices have led to the significant degradation of land across Australia.

Mulloon Creek was the legacy of a long collaboration between prominent agriculturalist Peter Andrews, and Tony Coote, the owner of the property who died in August. For decades they have implemented Andrews’ “natural sequence farming” system at Mulloon Creek.

Natural Sequence Farming methods developed by Peter Andrews and carried on by Tony Coote and then The Mulloon Institute help rejuvenate the land used in farming.

Central to the system is slowing flow in the creek with “leaky weirs”. These force water back into the bed and banks of the creek, which rehydrates the floodplain. This rehydrated floodplain is then said to be more productive and sustainable.

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A report claims koalas are ‘functionally extinct’ – but what does that mean?

Koalas are facing serious threats in the wild. Mathias Appel/Flickr

Koalas are facing serious threats in the wild. Mathias Appel/Flickr

Today the Australian Koala Foundation announced they believe “there are no more than 80,000 koalas in Australia”, making the species “functionally extinct”.

While this number is dramatically lower than the most recent academic estimates, there’s no doubt koala numbers in many places are in steep decline.

It’s hard to say exactly how many koalas are still remaining in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, but they are highly vulnerable to threats including deforestation, disease and the effects of climate change.

Once a koala population falls below a critical point it can no longer produce the next generation, leading to extinction.

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