Camphor subject of symposium

A Byron Council symposium aimed at developing a policy to manage the impacts of camphor laurel trees in the Byron Shire is being held at Byron Bay on Friday, November 27.

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

To some, said Cr Morrisey, it was a classified noxious weed rapidly spreading across cleared former rainforest and farming land that needed to be controlled. To others, he said, through strategic intervention, it could help return cleared landscapes to rainforest.

“Some see it as highly toxic, whilst for others it’s just another tree,” he said.

“Many harvest it for cabinet making, art and sculptural purposes and jobs creator or a source of firewood or fuel for electricity generation. It provides both opportunities and threats to ecosystem functions.

“This symposium is an excellent opportunity for people with a considered view on camphor laurel to participate in an informed dialogue on how best to manage this Asian tree for a variety of purposes.

“Council is developing an holistic strategy for managing camphor and this symposium aims to inform that process.”

Cr Morrisey said the morning would provide an opportunity to gather stakeholders’ views from electricity generation contractors, farmers, landcare groups, Country Energy, tree felling contractors, woodworkers and sculptors on the way forward in managing the issue.

Said Cr Morrisey: “The broad-scale unplanned clearing of camphor laurel sites could also disrupt wildlife corridors and threaten the biodiversity of the region.”

The symposium, to be held at the Lord Byron Resort, is free and those interested should phone Jos Mitchell on 66267222.

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