Friday, April 24, 2009

THE MIDLANDS: A Cultural Landscape

Tasmania's Midlands once were famous for the production of fine wool. That too was the case for Woodbury Farm the site of TREEreadRED. Sheep grazing in particular has dramatically changed the Midlands landscape and 200 years of European settlement in Tasmania has produced a cultural landscape that barely resembles the landscape managed by Tasmania's Aboriginal people.
The REDreadTREE came about as a result of a confluence of ideas. The Landcare organisation was seeking a means to draw attention to 'Rural Tree Decline' in the Midlands. Coinciding with this a group of artists were looking for opportunities to install 'ecoLANDMARKS' along the Midlands Highway. The REDreadTREE was to be the precursor for that and simultaneously serve a Landcare purpose.
The timing was the 5th year of the 'Decade of Landcare' and the REDreadTREE project had been proceeded (and followed) by significant tree plantings primarily designed to abate Rural Tree Decline. There was an enormous community effort to replace trees in the midlands landscape.
Sadly, almost a decade on from the end of the Decade of Landcare anicdotal evidence in the Midlands suggests that much less that 5% of those plantings survived. On top of that, during the Decade of Landcare in the Midlands it was estimated that there was an enormous loss of tree cove – there are suggestions of 25%. This is born out by the Midlands GOOGLEearth images here.
The Midlands is without doubt a cultural landscape that is not too difficult to interpret. As a consiquence of land use practices and sucessive droughts the proposition that the landscape is desertifying is plausible on the visual evidence.


Castrogi said...

Well documented and interestingly presented.

When will we ever learn?

Anonymous said...

While governments keep handing out bandaids to farmers they will never learn. WE need to be doing something but it does not seem that voting helps all that much.

Does anyone have any ideas???

I have been watching this red tree for a long time too.