Salinity is a major concern for Australia and is something that we should all give some consideration to because if we all become more aware of what salinity is, we can all do something to help slow it’s effects. Salinity is a natural occurrence in some areas of Australia but is increasingly occurring in areas where it was not present in the past. One of the things we can all easily do to help retard the affects of salinity is to plant more trees in our parks and gardens.
Salinity can have several causes and affects but is basically the process of salt rising up from underground to or near the surface. This is most often caused by a rise in the water table pushing the salt up, were it can be seen on the ground and on buildings and structures such as bridges and concrete. Many areas all around Australia have had all or most of the trees felled for various reasons leaving the bare ground exposed. What happens over a period of time is that because the trees are no longer there to suck the water up from underground, the water -table builds up and brings the salt to the surface.
This will become more of a problem as time goes on and we need to find some solutions as salt has a decaying effect on many building materials including concrete and steel. Where salt has built up on the ground surface, the replanting of trees and the general use of the land for farming is almost impossible. Salinity is also a growing problem for urban Australia, not just country areas.
Most experts agree that salinity is caused by land use practices such as the over-clearing of native bushland for farming and urban development, irrigation and river water management practices and government policy or lack of it.
In the short-term, government policy and public education are most likely the biggest issues needing attention though in the meantime we can all help by planting more trees in our local areas. When you look at the Australian landscape you can very often see huge areas of land cleared or almost totally cleared of trees. There are many, many reasons why we should all plant more trees. I don’t care if you don’t buy them from me, plant more of them because the benefits for the environment are endless. Preferably Australian native plants too and you can plant small gum trees like Eucalyptus Torquata (Coral Gum) which only grows to around 6 or 7 metres high and is therefore suitable for most backyards.
But we do need to plant trees, not just small shrubs and flowers. Trees and large shrubs have larger root systems that reach down further to the water table and use the underground water so that it is less likely to rise up. By planting more trees, you will help to reduce the effects of salinity and help to provide food and shelter for birds and insects. Everybody knows how trees produce oxygen and in turn help to clean up pollution from our air and they look great too.