In this report we investigate Macquarie Universities surrounding nature and the effect human developments have had on it throughout time. By conducting experiments, this report will explore the vegetation, geology and hydrology. along with conducting our own research, other resources such as reports and past fieldworks found on Macquarie Universities database, government data and local Ryde council planning reports have also been used to support and compare our findings to.What we currently call the City of Ryde was once owned by the Dharug tribe. The people of Dharug called their land Wallumattagal as the land was vastly surrounded by water – ‘matta’ which was home to many fishes – “wallumai”. Wallumattagal is home to an abundance of wildlife and plants which provided a rich makeup of food, shelter and water for the Dharug people. The City of Ryde Council 2012 report has been able to identify the 3 main ecological communities that makeup Macquarie University;- Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest- Sandstone Ridgetop Woodland- Western Sandstone Gully Forest.Within these ecological communities there is a recorded number of over 700 plant types that makeup the land. Turpentine trees, Myrtle Wattle, Pittosporum and Turpentines just to name a few. The Wallumattagal landscape structure consists of woodlands, sandstone formations, swamps and rainforests creating cliffs, flatter land and ridges (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, 2012).On the 22nd of December 2017, guided fieldwork was conducted that allowed us to research and observe the ever changing environments of the City of Ryde Council surrounding Mars Creek within Macquarie University.Firstly, we toured around the grounds of Macquarie University which allowed us to identify and photograph currently existing vegetation, geology and hydrology structure of the environment. As this occurred, we discussed and were informed by our tutors of both the positive and negative changes that had since taken place as a result of either natural occurrences, humans carelessness or both. Trees and other plants had name tags on them allowing students to effectively use them as reference later on in classroom discussions. As we only explored one of the vegetation bodies in Macquarie university, staff also provided online resources that illustrated and identified other native vegetation that could be found in other parts of the university grounds.After our field work, we returned to the laboratory with a sample of soil we collected earlier. Tests were conducted to determine our samples texture, organic material makeup, pH and moisture content (Table 2)The clear decrease of size of ecological is evident in figure 2 and this raises concern over the livelihood of its native plants and animals and the struggles faced in trying to preserve it. These changes first started occurring when Macquarie University was first established in the late 1960’s which later lead to further urbanization (JBA Urban Planning, 2006). As Macquarie Universities initial 126 hectares of land and urbanisation took place, the 3 major forests, Turpentine Ironbark Forest, Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest and Blue Gum High Forest, vegetation, geology and hydrology makeup dwindled (City of Ryde, 2012. The divide between the natural landscape and the universities grounds at first seems to be evident and effective. However, upon further inspection it becomes evident that not all current boundaries are effective (Figure 3) as some barriers (Figure 4) shows to help preserve tree trunks and small shrubs from being destroyed or harmed (Figure 5).
As mentioned earlier, Macquarie University is part of the City of Ryde Council, once called Wallumattagal, belonging to the Dharug tribe. This area integrates Lane Cove National Park which consist of both sandstone and shale rock (Figure 6).
Before urbanization occurred creek waters were absorbed into the land where plant roots and soil filtered the water into the creek through time. Mars Creek currently however flows through pipes, rocks and man-made banks along major roads surrounding the university into Lane Cove National Park (Macquarie University, 2012 & Macris, 2016). These pathways measure up to 1.7 kilometers and means that as the water skips the filtering process, the water appears to be murky and littered with small amounts of rubbish.ConclusionThe experiments and fieldwork conducted along with research shows that there is in fact a great change of native Macquarie bushland throughout the years. As a result of human modifications and urbanisation, the once rural farmland that was home to its indigenous tribes has now become what we see today. The introduction of non-native plants and animals along with air and noise pollution we create have resulted in severe threats and consequences in maintaining and preserving Wallumattagal’s natural landscape and natural process of growth and development. 1. Human impact on the environmentLarge areas surrounding Macquarie bushlands have since been converted into roads, footpaths and other various developmental areas. This means there is an increase of disruptions to the natural and biodiverse growth of native vegetation, geology and hydrology causing harm to the ecosystems overall health (Stewart, 2017).One such negative impact of human disturbance to the ecosystem is the inadequate monitoring and conservation of native land due to ineffective ‘edges’ that help distinguish the barrier between natural bush and managed grounds. Although there are attempts for effecting “edge effects” around Macquarie University (figure 3, 4 & 5) not all are effective or even non existent at some locations (figure 5). Near Mars Creek, edges have been formed using old tree trunks however (figure 4) the edge is not equally prominent throughout. In other areas north of the bushland (figure 5), despite having trees located close to the existing edge, are excluded and therefore more prone to harm and potential destruction.Effective edging between vegetation (figure 3) can prevent the merging of 2 different vegetation areas (Stewart, 2017). Inadequate edges will result in vegetation becoming predisposed to human interferences as well as separating the isolated plant from it natural ecological system that would otherwise help the plants overall growth and development (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, 2012). 2. Action planSufficient edging should be set in place as it is a vital step in helping preserve and manage vegetation in all areas by providing clear distinctions between native environments. Edging not only helps prevent unwanted harm to its plants as but also allows them to grow naturally and forming their own interdependent relationships for a stronger ecological structure within. In order to achieve this, there are countless means of action that can occur.Firstly, authorities should implement the placement of edges should be set in place where it is not already readily available whilst other areas with inadequate edges should be fixed or replaced (Figure 3, 4 & 5).Secondly, efforts should be made to include outlaying nearby trees and shrubs to it native vegetation. This will protect them from future damage as well as help eventually repair existing damages and strengthen the interdependent vegetation ecological system. This will also benefit the animals and insects.Thirdly, informing the public about the plan, its benefits and consequences will allow for individuals to act in a more conscious manner as they are equipped with the knowledge and resources to recognise the value of environmental maintenance and preservation.Lastly, councils and authorities should also be more strict and insistent on educating and training grounds workers and keeps to keep to these edges so to avoid the merging of the 2 environments. They should also conduct regular assessments on the state and quality of its councils ecological system so to be able to address issues earlier on so to preserve the integrity of the land. Part B – Media Article1 Links to the full articleshttp://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/hidden-environmental-crisis-exposed-in-tree-clearing-report-20171005-p4ywak.html https://theconversation.com/land-clearing-isnt-just-about-trees-its-an-animal-welfare-issue-too-80398 2. Article 1’Hidden environmental crisis’ exposed in tree-clearing report – Tony Moore, October 5th 2017 This article written by Tony Moore brings to our attention the rate of vegetation loss occurring within Australia. The author argues that our current legislations to have tighter laws on tree clearing procedures are not strict enough and that this issue and the consequences it could result in if this issue is continued to be ignored. One of Australia’s greatest attractions is said to be one of the larger areas effected currently and at the current trends, it vegetation both on land and in the water will be effected. This article also highlights that not only are Australians effected but in fact it has the ability to effect the world and our overall ecosystem. This article is written in a very direct manner with well-versed English making it easy to understand and more relatable to individuals with only intermediate understanding of environmental science.The use of satellite imagery was used to support the claims and finding in this article Along with other studies. Quotes from reputable individuals from different countries within the field are also used who support current findings and who also support the conservation of the and.This article was chosen as it communicates it scientific concerns in a clear and succinct manner. The article is easy to read and understand whilst also providing a range of easily comparable statistics to further audiences understanding. Article 2Land clearing isn’t just about trees- it’s an animal welfare issue too – Hugh Finn, July 5th 2017 This second article, similarly to the first article discusses the effect on land clearing beyond just the loss of vegetation but the extended threat it has on the animals within the environment as animals and plants have an inter dependent relationship. The article brings to our attention a fact that is often overlooked, ecological systems are interdependent and that through the process of land clearing, animals could face endangerment due to loss of habitat, food and welfare.The article is set out clearly with sub headings which help guide the audiences understanding. Along with the use of not too technical terminology, the article is ideal for most readers ever if they only have basic environmental science understanding.There are no other references or data in this article however as the author is an environmental lecturer himself, provides some level of reassurance to readers that his information is valid. 2 Own media ArticleCLEARING BEYOND THE TREESPopulations growing, demands are peaking and expectations are soaring. Have you ever thought to think where all our things come from? Or what had to be used or sacrificed to make them? It’s true. The reality is, most Australians don’t stop to think, ‘where is my food from?’, ‘what used to be where my house is now?’ or even time to appreciate the things that provide us with a sense of security.Land clearing happens for a number of reasons but the main reason is because us humans always want more. You would think that in Australia, we have plenty of bushland to spare. However, with our alarmingly increasing rate of demand, bushland areas are fast dwindling. As we clear masses of land for housing and crops have you thought about what happens to the animals that once lived there? All bushlands work interdependently to create its own functioning ecological system within. This means that clearing bushland goes beyond the loss of vegetation, animals lose their food and habitat putting them at risk of starvation or by being hunted by their predators.Similar issues about the welfare of Australian animals as a result of land clearing have also been discussed by Hugh Finn in his 2017 article, Land clearing isn’t just about trees- it’s an animal welfare issue too, along with other environmental reports from Earth Care this discuss and identify the growing number of endangers animal and plant species within our national parks. Earth Care has identified there to be 83 alone just within Lane Cove National Park situated in metropolitan Sydney.
Land clearing isn’t just about the trees but the lives that live amongst them also. The things that were sacrificed to provide us with a sense of security exist for others within our bushland too. Appreciate more and value everything.