Raphie, Paul and Holly from CERES Fair Wood visit Rowan Reid's stunning Bambra Agroforestry Farm Demonstration with graduates of the Gippsland Master Tree Growers Course and Western Port Catchment Landcare Network.
Rowan Reid is serious aussie agroforestry academic, who created his amazing Bambra Agroforesty Farm, in the lush Otways. Rowan has written a book about Australian Agroforestry called 'Heartwood'. It is beautifully illustrated and totally inspiring.
Rowan Reid explains the stories behind his amazing of Bambra Agroforestry Farm to the group, and how fast trees can grow given the right conditions.
This is the saw which Rowan put together himself (it is a Norwood LM36). Here he about to saw a log from a log of Shining Gum he grew. Clouds of sawdust come off, which you can see collected on the ground. Rowan also has a solar kiln. It has three skins and is computer controlled, ensuring humidity and temperature are just right for drying the timber. It is a MiniPro Solar Kiln in case you were looking to start a sawmill and timber drying enterprise. There is actually a shortage of people who can saw and dry timber in Victoria and it is important we can access the farm forestry timber that is available locally. Any aspiring sawmillers? Raphie and Holly from Fair Wood were pretty keen, but how do you fit this into a suburban backyard, or on a city rooftop?
All gathered around as Rowan Reid explains which trees he has planted where and why. It is a giant science experiment! Rowan is collaborating with research groups all the time. Bambra is an exemplar small scale agroforestry farm, it's designed to be visually appealling too, with a path that invites you to ask 'what exciting species of tree, scientific venture is round the corner?' Is it a pear tree? is it Rowan's first truffle harvest?
The diversity of trees at Bambra Agroforestry Farm Demonstration is amazing. Interestingly, Rowan doesn't plant many Victorian natives species and there is a good reason for this. Instead he values planting species from around the world and from further north in Australia. Often these are better adapted to the changing Victorian climate than tree species native to the Otway region because they have evolved mechanisms to survive longer, drier and hotter periods.
Smart forestry for conservation and for profit. We were all inspired.
You can book tours to see Rowan Reid's wonderful agroforestry farm. Check out www.agroforestry.net.au — in Bambra, Victoria, Australia.