Symposium on a growing problem

CAMPHOR laurel trees provide both opportunities and threats to Byron Shire’s ecosystem, so a management strategy is urgently needed.

That’s why Byron Shire Council is holding a camphor laurel symposium on Friday, November 27, from 9am until 1pm.

Councillor Patrick Morrisey said the event would allow for consultation with residents and key stakeholders on the development of a policy and strategy to manage the trees.

“We are hoping to attract about 50 attendees in order to gain a whole of community perspective in relation to camphor laurel and its impacts on the shire,” he said.

Cr Morrisey said camphor laurel trees meant different things to different people.

“To some, it’s a classified noxious weed, rapidly spreading across cleared former rainforest and farming land that needs to be controlled,” he said.

“To others, through strategic intervention, it can help return cleared landscapes to rainforest.

“Many harvest it for cabinet making, art and sculptural purposes and jobs creation or a source of firewood or fuel for electricity generation.”

Camphor laurel trees are a significant problem for the Byron Shire, with more than one quarter of the vegetated areas comprised of the tree.

Electricity generation contractors, farmers, Landcare groups, Country Energy, tree felling contractors, woodworkers and sculptors will all attend next week’s symposium.

Cr Morrisey said the trees had some positive values. For example, they provided important habitats for threatened plant and animal species.

“The broad scale unplanned clearing of camphor laurel sites could also disrupt wildlife corridors and threaten the biodiversity of the region,” he said. “As a community we need to manage the issue of clearing camphors, maintain biodiversity and look for potential value- adding solutions to the problem.”

Cr Morrisey said the symposium was an ‘excellent opportunity’ for people to have their say.

Byron Shire Council’s camphor laurel symposium is free. It will be held at the Lord Byron Resort in Byron Bay.

For more information, or to register, contact the council’s economic development officer, Jos Mitchell, 6626 7222 or email jos.mitchell@byron.nsw.gov.au.



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