Foresters are applying lime in the Austrian forests against acid rain. They know that lime is too alkaline and destroys the humus because it destroys the acid-alkaline balance. Lime destroys the nitrogen compounds in the humus and it leaches nitrogen into the water which is a pollutant. Measurements show that with acid rain comes about 40, 50, 60 kilos of nitrogen per hectare.
Banana Growers Kevin and Gary Harding have been trialing rock dust from Pin Gin Hill quarry since mid-1985. Using experience gained from these trials they radically altered their fertilizer applications, and in August 1990 planted out a 4 Hectare block using Minplus rock dust as the main fertilizer.
In North America we’ve seen over the past ten or fifteen years significant and serious decline of certain forest species. The ones we’re most concerned about are high elevation red spruce and Fraser fir forests in the Appalachians. These forests comprise very unique mountaintop ecosystems on four, five and six thousand foot peaks. They’re quite rate in that they’re remnants from the last glaciation period: very beautiful, very unique. We’ve seen very rapid decline, dieback and death of these forests occur to a great extent in high elevations of the eastern Appalachians.
This is a brief summary of our preliminary experimental data regarding the effects of Planters II on the growth and survival of red spruce and Fraser fir. As a brief introduction, I would state that red spruce and Fraser fir are the boreal montane ecosystem species here in the high Appalachians of the northeastern and southeastern U.S. These tree have undergone tremendous stress via air pollution over the past several decades and, indeed, certain air-borne and satellite surveys have indicated that as much as 40 percent of this ecosystem has already died.
Western Australia is semi-arid, with annual rainfall on the same order as Africa’s Sahel. Our soils are ancient many millions of years old. Ages of weathering and leaching, and a few decades of farming with soluble NPK fertilizers, have left them impoverished. Today, despite the greatest care, each year large tracts of land are lost to salt and wind erosion. Shelterbelts of trees are indispensable allies in an effort to reverse this loss of farmland, and to anchor a regeneration of the soil. Significant forest cover can eventually stabilize the local climate, too. The Western Australia chapter of Men of the Trees is dedicated to this task.