After studying history and anthropology during his early decades in Papua New Guinea Phil relocated to Queensland and completed post-graduate studies in agricultural science. His scientific approach, interest in ecology and working on the land focussed his attention on landcare issues and the progressive degradation of productive and natural landscapes, for which his practical nature drove him to seek solutions. The value of restoring vegetation to prevent erosion and reduce wind-borne soil loss by managing water and wind became clear, as did problems and limitations in re-establishing trees in modified landscapes. Initial investigations of propagation and establishment techniques led to trials in the landscape of native and exotic trees. The success of initial plantings of dry rainforest species from south-east Queensland led to trials of further trees from these areas. Through his work as a restoration ecologist, community volunteer and landcarer Phil continues to research the propagation and establishment of dry rainforest vegetation for rural and urban applications.
Treenet Symposium Speaker
Dry rainforest species with potential for urban forests
For over 35 years Phil Holzknecht has experimented with practical ways to propagate and establish dry rainforest species in agricultural, residential and natural landscapes. Much of his initial investigation was conducted in and around southeast Queensland’s rain shadow areas of Gatton and Ipswich so his methods adopt low water-use techniques. As one of a team of volunteer landcarers working with the Friends of Lake Apex, Phil was responsible for the founding and establishment of the Dry Rainforest Arboretum at Gatton in 2004, a community project funded by the Greening Lockyer Projects and Powerlink. The arboretum showcases dry rainforest species which previously grew throughout SEQ’s Lockyer Valley. In his presentation Phil will show how knowledge gained and methods developed over this time can be applied to establish trees more widely, as demonstrated by more recent projects in South Australia. He will discuss species which have proven resilient in SEQ and which are likely to be suited to more widespread planting in the region and elsewhere. He will also share insights and ideas that might inform further trials and investigations of species, with the view to improving urban forests, urban living conditions and wildlife habitats.