SUBMISSION re TREE PRESERVATION ORDER REVIEW
A lot of Bankstown Bushland Society’s concerns about indigenous trees could easily be dealt with by Bankstown City Council by incorporating this list of significant indigenous canopy species in its Tree Preservation Order. This is a basic list of all tree species that comprised the original pre settlement forest of the area, and that still occur as isolated individuals in parks and reserves, as well as street trees and on private property. The list does not include the rarer rainforest affinity species that are today only found in isolated areas such as at The Crest and Marion Street Reserve, and in pockets along the Georges River foreshore in the Georges River National Park.
I have collected all of the listed species multiple times since 1982, and had all specimens verified by botanists at the National Herbarium of New South Wales. I retain these and many other specimens of Bankstown’s native flora. The significance of these species is in that as indigenous trees they have not been planted (planted specimens of these same species are not of this same significance), which makes them living historical records of the composition of the original pre settlement flora. As such they are often the oldest trees in the area, and for this reason alone they should be recognised in the TPO, and every consideration be given to preserving them wherever possible.
Council can decide for itself what kind of special consideration it can give them, but to have them noted should be enough to avoid incidents like that at East Hills Park recently where an entire group of them was thought of so little significance they were all earmarked for removal to make way for a car park.
Many of these trees are extremely rare and fast disappearing from the district. Some are down to only a handful of individuals. As a group, in general, they are being replaced with non-local introduced species such as Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) (Note: this does occur naturally in Bankstown, but only as a very small number of remnant trees in the far north-west corner), Tallow Wood (E. microcorys), Flooded Gum (E. grandis), Sugar Gum (E. cladocalyx), Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora), Willow Peppermint (E. nicholii) and non local forms of Mugga Ironbark (E. sideroxylon), among others. As time goes on we see more and more of these introduced species and fewer and fewer of the locally indigenous ones.
Apart from being native to the area, many of the locally indigenous species are superior aesthetically, better adapted to soil conditions and more durable. They are also the preferred habitat of local wildlife and often contain habitat hollows for various native animals. Despite their gradual demise, to this day they play an important role in maintaining the integrity of local biodiversity.
One other thing would be very useful: and that is for Council to employ someone with the skills to be able to recognise these species when encountered. Without these skills they are simply just another gum tree.
For and on behalf of Bankstown Bushland Society