The Bradley Method of Bush Regeneration
Paraphrased from an article by John Seed, in a book
of unknown title
The Bradley Method of bush regeneration method was
developed in Australia by two sisters. It is a method of passively regenerating native
The cornerstone of this method is that to bring back the native
vegetation that once covered a particular piece of earth, no heroic tree planting measures
are called for. Rather, this humble technique requires only the removal of all foreign
influences while at the same time causing the minimum possible disturbance to whatever
native vegetation still exists.
With this method we would first ensure that domestic farm animals
dont intrude on the land to be regenerated. Next, we would identify and get to know
all species of plants on the land, both the exotics and those native to the area, in both
their mature and seedling forms. Then the method is simple: remove the exotics without
disturbing the natives. Carefully stepping backwards, removing exotics as we go, we invite
the bush to follow. It is painstaking work. Each year, the process accelerates as the
native intelligence of the place emerges and the life-force quickens. Encouraged in this
way, the native species begin to come back, growing stronger in each ensuing season.
There is only one other rule: start from the strength. Even though the
area that we wish to heal may have deep scars, erosion gullies, and such, we must resist
our temptation to work on those areas first, and instead start from the strongest
expression of native vegetation in the area. The idea is to encourage the pioneer species
in the strong areas. As more and more species emerge, they set the stage for other
succession species to follow. Gradually the microclimate changes and eventually climax
species will be evident. As this process moves forward, the plants spread outward and
cover an increasingly larger area. And when the accelerating advance of the native bush
finally reaches the erosion gullies and scars, it now has the vigor and necessary species
to be able to recolonize those areas, which then come slowly back into harmony.
This is a very passive method of revegetation in that humans do not
play the "hero" planting thousands of trees, but rather invite the original
nature of the place back in. Inherent in this is a deep trust in the natural intelligence
of the Earth. She knows what is meant to grow in this place and the steps necessary to
have it grow there.