Tuesday, March 7, 2023

We need BIG trees

Drouin has some large old trees. The Settlement Giant, in Settlement Rd, is on Australia’s National Register of Big Trees LINK.

While Victoria and Tasmania in particular have some of the world’s largest trees, we are at risk of losing them through land clearing for agricultural purposes, urban development and infrastructure and for timber harvesting.

Mountain Grey Gum Settlement Rd Drouin

The loss of large trees can have significant ecological impacts. Large trees are best at storing carbon and stands of large trees play an appreciable role in the water cycle.

Our eucalypts take almost 100 years to develop hollows that provide habitat for native birds, mammals, and reptiles. More than 300 species of native animals rely on tree hollows for their survival, a greater proportion than in any other country on the planet.

The Settlement Giant: 12.5m girth; 35m tall; 33m spread; loaded with hollows

With advancing climate change, there is a pronounced push to plant more trees to sequester carbon. Existing large trees absorb disproportionally more carbon than small trees. Saving the large trees we already have is essential.

Trees can be thought of as water pumps. They draw large amounts of water from the soil and transpire it as water vapour into the atmosphere. Trees contribute to the amount of rainfall as much as the oceans do.

Many of our large, old trees have important cultural and historical values for our first nations people and early settlers.

Yes, we certainly need to plant new young trees to play their role in the future but we badly need to save our existing big old trees too.


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Pet cats are killers

About 27% of Australian households have pet cats and about half of those households have more than one cat. That amounts to around 4 million domestic cats. About a third of Australia’s pet cats are properly contained, the other two thirds are allowed to roam.

Not my cat #1

Urban, domestic, pet cats in Australia, (not including the feral ones) are estimated to kill nearly 400 million animals each year. It works out at about 180 animals per cat. Before you say, “My cat doesn’t bring home many animals”, consider that the research suggests the domestic cat returns home with less than 15% of its kills.

Not my cat #2

The University of Sydney research, LINK, suggests that 59% of domestic cat kills are native animals, birds, mammals and reptiles.

In Australia’s cities and towns, the pet cat density is between 40 and 70 cats per square kilometre. Many of them are ‘housed’ near wetlands, parks and bush reserves, making their predation of particular concern for areas that have been set aside partly for the preservation of wildlife.

Not my cat #3

Remember, this is the effect of the domestic or pet cat on our wildlife. Our feral cat problem is considerable too – a story for another day.

From the Baw Baw Shire Council website, LINK


“All cats over the age of 3 months are required to be registered with Council. It is a State Government requirement that they are microchipped in order to register with Council. Please note that microchipping is different to Council registration.”


“All cats living within Baw Baw Shire Council must be desexed.”

24 Hour Curfew:

“Baw Baw Shire Council has an order imposed under the Community Local Law 2016, stating that all owners of cats are required to keep their cat securely confined to the property and not allow that cat to wander outside the owner’s premises.”

Number of Cats:

“In accordance with the Community Local Law 2016, in a residential area, permits must be obtained to keep more than two cats (regardless of your land size). In a rural area, you can keep up to 5 cats without a permit.”


“If you're having an issue with wandering cats in your area, a limited number of cat traps are available to borrow from Council for up to 7 days (a refundable deposit of $63.40 is required).”


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Infrastructure Victoria

Infrastructure Victoria is an independent advisory body which has three functions: preparing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for Victoria; providing written advice to government on infrastructure matters; publish research on infrastructure matters.

Among Infrastructure Victoria’s recommendations to improve planning for growth areas: target 30% tree canopy coverage in new growth areas by mandating coverage during precinct development, funding relevant Victorian Government agencies and local government to plant, replace and maintain canopy trees, and work with utility providers to remove barriers to tree planting.

The benefits of leafier streets are well documented.

Denser housing developments mean smaller back yards and more nature strip crossovers, resulting in less space for planting canopy trees. Vegetation offset requirements for new developments often result in the offset occurring far away from the original development – if they occur at all.

Buln Buln Rd Drouin October 2021

Infrastructure Victoria recommends: the Victorian Government should develop clear compliance guidelines for planning approvals and Precinct Structure Plans and undertake monitoring and enforcement.

Yes please!

Infrastructure Victoria – LINK