EVIDENCE OF CAMPHOR LAUREL TREES IN LISMORE BECOMING INCREASINGLY – MORE – TOXIC, 1999 – 2005

RESEARCH AREA – BACKGROUND.

There are more than 250 native-age Cinnamomum Camphor Laurel trees in central Lismore CBD and surrounding streets; including Park-shade 'specimens', Avenue-Camphor's and Riverbank/flats 'volunteers' – all of roughly even age, originating/planted circa 1940-1950 i.e. 55 years of age approx; most were planted in March 1946, in part honour of one Lismore man, Hepburn, who by mid 1944 succeeded in creating a Camphor Veneer Industry for export (ex Sydney) to East Asia.

All or most of the 250 Camphor's have been studied or observed intensively since early 1999, soon after research experiments performed at The Channon confirmed that Camphor Tree extracts of leaf and fruits and roots kill live frog tadpoles (and Cane toads!).

REFERENCED EVIDENCE OF HEIGHTENED TOXICITY.

1. Regional-notable botanist Dr. A. Floyd now based at Coffs Harbour Arboretum first noted – in a talk given at Lismore, the first 'Mass Native Bird Death Event' which includes .00's/000's of Native pigeons of unspecified species, 'falling dead' after first commencing to consume Camphor Laurel fruit in significant volumes; elders of Richmond River Historical Society (personal communications 06/2005) corroborate Dr. Floyd's finding and add "the camphor laurel trees began to (apparently) turn more toxic."

2. Terania Shire Times (2003) published Friends' Camphor Laurel Research Centre theory, based on more than a dozen field ecological observations, that Camphor Laurel pollen and/or the trees' volatile mostly odourless excreted toxins were somehow inducing sterility and (visible) in field deaths of remnant native Laurels species in and around districts noted/known to have a preponderance/be dominated by some of the more toxic hybrid types of Camphor Laurel, and/or within rotting distance of the closest Camphor Laurels – keeping in mind that Kew Botanic Gardens (2001) published a statement verifying the existence of toxic 'Oil Excretion Glands' all along the roots of Camphor Laurel Trees (old/young).

SUBSTANTIVE/ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE

Ex Tweed Shire Councillors first observed the death of “thousands of native frogs” in 'wet season' puddles under native Camphor Laurel trees in and near Murwillumbah between 1955 and 1962: An increasing frequency of occurrence (since 1955) of MNBD Events, according to local Lismore witness to the 'Coraki MNBDE (1978), and in Lismore (CRC, 2002) to the interviewed Lismore City Council Staff who witnessed the location of dozens of native birds of various species (medium and small) all dead in CBD Lismore within 60 metres of the known most toxic chemotypes of Camphor Laurel trees in Uralba Street 'Avenue' of Camphors.

Lismore CBD Camphor's planted 03/1946 have been observed becoming increasingly less able to support the broad range/diversity of native biota that was commonplace on the majority of mature Camphors – inc. these same ones, prior to 1999; photographs across the period of 7 years support the view, but especially in early 2005 observations that; Joe A. Friend Ecologist