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Re: [nafex]was Blue Understory Now Gorse

What you saw is gorse.  Another great plant I probably set out at my place!  
Gorse in New Zealand is trying to undo the damage cause by greed and 
indiference to the natural resource base.  The really criminal action was 
introducing sheep and cattle.  These destroy native vegatation mainly by the 
compaction of their hooves on the fragil surface roots.  (New Zealand is a 
natural bird habitat--there are no native mammals and so the ecosystem has no 
defence against them.)  Gorse nicely closes out these ruminant pests, holds 
soil (subsidance is a major problem there), and rebuilds fertility.  Native 
pioneer species come up through gorse, so the restoration to a sustainable 
and sustaining (for the land) ecosystem is underway.  The main problem with 
gorse is that, like the pestiferous eucalyptus, it promotes short fire 
cycles.  However if one abandandons the NZ practice of piling gorse slash in 
windrows up and down slopes and piles it instead in bands on contour, 
potential for rapid spread of fire is reduced by orders of magnitude and the 
slash provides additional erosion control benefit.  Left alone, though,the 
native bush will restore through gorse, as will selected exotics such as 
blackwalnut, etc.  (People DO need cash crops of course.)  Suddenly into my 
mind come memories of visiting the beef farm of Ben and Bev Worsfield on the 
North Island.  By  improved grazing technique (strip grazing + increased 
shelter, mainly with native vegetation fromwhich cattle were fenced), they 
increased production while maintaining reserves of native bush in which 
cattle are now never allowed.  There was no gorse though it is in the farms 
all about, because there was no niche for it.  It likes bare soil, eg. 
overgrazed, slipping soil.)

Dan Hemenway
 Barking Frogs Permaculture Center  
The protocol for our Annual Permaculture Design Course Online is at 

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In a message dated 1/12/01 9:57:07 AM, longdistshtr@shtc.net writes:

<< A mention of English Ivy, Tree of Heaven, and other unwanteds reminds me
of Scots/Scotch Broom in New Zealand. I was there year before last. I
didn't see the fruit trees mentioned lately but did see thousands of
sheep (couldn't count them, kept going asleep) and hectares upon
hectares of beautiful hills covered with Scotch Broom. Another mistake
made by man of mis-locating a plant. Doc >>