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15. Patterns for Cathedral Forest Constructs

Patterns for “Cathedral Forest Constructs” is a series of predictions founded on biological science and visual appraisal of existing forest constructs. New Cathedral Forests match selected species to soil + rainfall.  

Objective being promoted here is to grow a “fire proof forest” capable of thriving in the 300 mm to 700 mm rainfall zones of Inland Australia that provides (1) a viable economic return from meat and milk production (2) long term timber (3) shaded domestic areas.

It is grazing management that provides the best low cost method of reducing fire risk. This type of forest already exists in limited situations – so we know it has potential. GO via LINK Below TO: Cathedral Forests for Inland Australia to see 30 year old Chinchilla White Gum Planation that provides useful knowledge from observation.   

FIRST PATTERN is Tree Density = 100 Trees per hectare on 10 metre grid + 400 Trees per hectare on 5 metre grid.

Illustration 1 BELOW: Overhead view of mature tree belt 6 rows wide planted on an 8 metre grid formation. In this instance the trees are “Belah”. Mature Belah will only grow to about 6 metres in width. Height is typically 12 metres – however some can grow to 20 metres on better black soil. This density maintains an open canopy to reduce fire risk.

BELAH planted at 8 metres = 140 trees per hectare. 1000 hectares would then absorb 140,000 trees. The cost of establishing a new forest is substantial. Recommended from our Research Section: Better Carbon Credits with Grazing

Tree Belts reduce tree planting rates over large areas while potentially amplifying multiple natural functions.  


TREE BELT OBJECTIVE is to construct a forest where individual tree tops do not touch. Mature tree height is important as it provides opportunity to prune lateral branches. Look at Iron Bark Tree in Photo 3 + also other Iron Bark Photos in TREES for SALE SECTION

Illustration 2 BELOW: Four Tree Belts each is 50 metres wide. Distance here between each “belt” is about 100 metres.


Illustration 2 ABOVE: Open space between tree belts is grassland. So we now have 2 ecosystems side by side = Open Forest Woodland + Grasslands. NATURAL ADVANTAGE is Potentially Enhanced as rainfall runoff from grasslands flows into tree belts where rainwater penetration is greater combined with better quality pasture growing in the shade of trees.

ALSO we now have the “influence of atmospheric turbulence” from the tree belt. Moving air is compressed when it collides with a tree belt changing atmospheric pressure. So the atmosphere starts to act like a series of pumps that agitates itself with changes in compression. AS air collides with tree belts some of it is pushed upwards creating spiralling effects. The Tree Belts are now gradually releasing moisture back into the atmosphere. THERE is already a BROAD BODY of RESEARCH available on the influence of trees and the way they contribute to rainfall.         

Shaded Forest Grazing

PHOTO 3: On our sand country boundary where you can see the Chinchilla White Gum Plantation in the background. Tall trees in foreground are Iron Bark .

 There is only one “brake” on broad acre applications of these types of forest. Economics.

No doubt production of timber + meat + milk will increase. You just need to pre-determine a viable economic model.

So this is a first draft of a topic that will be expanded upon over time. Date of First Draft 30/07/23 

Shaded Forest Grazing

PHOTO 3: Jacaranda Seedling inside a stock proof tree guard. Testing Jacaranda as a suitable tree for Constructed Forests. Jacaranda grows in this district – know to grow 2 metres first growing season – so will easier to get above grazing height of small cattle. Date of Photo: 20/03/21

Shaded Forest Grazing

PHOTO 4: 9 year old Belah 5 metres tall pruned to be above grazing height of small cattle. Date of Photo 2021

Shaded Forest Grazing

PHOTO 5: On our boundary under a Kurrajong Tree looking across neighbours Sand Country to Chinchilla White Gum Plantation. The best grass grows in the shade of trees especially in these extremely impoverished soils. This is old cultivation country, leeched of many essential elements. The trees bring phosphorous and many other elements back to the top soil from leaf litter. DATE of PHOTO 1/11/18 after 207 mm of Spring Rain.

Shaded Forest Grazing

PHOTO 6: On our boundary, a Wilga Tree. Wilga can be pruned to raise canopy above grazing height of cattle. Certain trees + especially Wilga are better sources of nutrient for grasses. Some eucalypt are “allelopathic”. They leech chemicals that inhibit grasses and other ground covers. DATE of PHOTO 1/11/18. 

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