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Shelter from pest plants?

Lifecraft

John McDouall Stuart
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I love the idea of going into the bush and building a shelter from scratch. Unfortunately, because I don't want to cut down any trees, that's difficult.

But if someone goes into the bush (a national park for example) and only ever cuts down pest plants, to build a shelter, who is going to argue with that?
When you're leaving just put it all on the fire and make it disappear.

The main plant I'm thinking of is lantana. If it's possible to somehow create a shelter from it, the supplies are endless. (And if we do run out? Bonus!)
There are other plants but I'm not aware of any which is so common (at least around here).

It'll be a lot more work to harvest and use than whole trees but that's a price we have to pay unless we're on private land and are prepared to sacrifice some of the trees.

Does anyone have any ideas about how we could turn any pest plants into shelter?
Maybe lantana can be woven together to form a roof and sides of a hut? I have no idea if that'll work, it might be too brittle.

The leaves are slightly toxic, so could they be used as a bedding which will repel bugs?
Ever seen a lantana leaf that's been eaten by a bug? I don't think I have but I've never gone looking.
They could possibly also be used for covering up a woven substructure to form a debris shelter maybe?


If bushcrafters were to make a habit of consuming pest plants and animals while in the bush then maybe we could all have a positive impact while we're out there.
The other obvious benefit if we could learn how to make shelters from pest plants is that we would all finally be able to go and build shelters from scratch in the bush. I'm guessing that our desire to preserve all the trees as they are is one of the major reasons many people on this forum have never actually had the opportunity to do build a shelter from natural materials.
 
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barefoot dave

Ray Mears
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Interesting idea, mate.
Yes you can weave Lantana, if thick enough, into a workable shelter. Older stands can have decent hollows in them as the plants grow higher. If you build a low domed shelter, it should take the weight of a fair amount of roofing cover. I have built lots of shelters out bush and never cut a tree down yet. Debris shelters minimize energy expenditure. Eucalypt forests usually provide plenty of dead fall branches for more elaborate shelters.
Cheers, Dave.
 

Askew

John McDouall Stuart
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I think using weeds for bushcraft is a great idea. I would point out though that ALL flora in national parks is protected including the weeds.
 

Howling Dingo

Richard Proenneke
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I think weeds are far game and makes scene to use them like this.You have to be careful not to spreed the seeds and be spot on with you plant ID.Some plant have sap/latex that has toxic so I suggest a bit of homework.Do a bit of volunteering with you local landcare group would be one way to hone you plant ID skills.
 

Lifecraft

John McDouall Stuart
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Yes you can weave Lantana, if thick enough, into a workable shelter. Older stands can have decent hollows in them as the plants grow higher. If you build a low domed shelter, it should take the weight of a fair amount of roofing cover.

Thanks I'll have to give it a go next time I'm out in the bush.
One spot I'm thinking of has lantana bushes well above my head height. So there's lots of long thick stems to use (although from memory many of them are curved and twisted which will make it interesting).

I have built lots of shelters out bush and never cut a tree down yet. Debris shelters minimize energy expenditure. Eucalypt forests usually provide plenty of dead fall branches for more elaborate shelters.

I've been thinking about trying one with only deadfall branches only. We used to play around kinda making shelters like that as kids doing that but they wouldn't have been weatherproof in the slightest and we never stayed in them overnight.
Back then there was no youtube to learn from and while plenty of people I knew were into camping and hiking they didn't have the "bushcraft" mentality (eg. building shelters etc from scratch) or experience to teach.
I haven't tried making one since I started getting back into bushcraft.

The other issue is finding a spot to build it. I don't have access to much of the bushland I grew up around because I no longer live in the bush, and some of my favorite spots are blocked by private property. (I should just show up at my old home and ask if I can park the car and walk through.)
I've found some new places over the past few years which have plenty of deadfall. I'll have to go and try it out.

Edit: I just realised I can access the area behind where I used to live using a nearby firetrail that, for some reason, I was oblivious to when I was younger. Looks like I can go exploring there again.
Not sure why it took me so long to figure that out. Always learning something new.
Funny thing is I think I heard about the fire trail growing up.... but for some reason it slipped my mind until I just saw it on google maps. I guess after enough years that'll happen.

Debris shelters minimize energy expenditure.

Ever have an issue with bugs in the debris?
Do you smoke your shelter out before using it, to get rid of bugs?
Ants can be a real pain around here and often you don't notice them until you start to disturb the area, or you get bitten.

On a canoe trip many years ago, we set up shelter and when we went to get into it the whole thing was full of ants. Ended up sleeping under the backup tarp instead.
I would imagine debris could be even worse, but I don't have experience with it.

I would point out though that ALL flora in national parks is protected including the weeds.

I can't imagine anyone is going to get in serious trouble for clearing out lantana, so long as it's done responsibly. I'll take before and after photos to show the area is better off.

As far as I understand it, the intent/spirit of the law is what needs to be followed (not just the wording).
Protecting the national park is the intent of the law. Lantana is damaging the national park. Therefore removing lantana is following the intent of the law.
I would even go so far as to say if someone hinders your ability to remove the lantana then THEY are violating the laws which intend to protect the national park, by preventing environmental protection efforts.
But I'm not a lawyer, so don't presume I'm correct here and don't quote me on it.

A spot I'm thinking of has lantana choking most of the gully. It's a complete mess.
If no-one does anything about it then in a decade it'll be taking over the whole area.

You have to be careful not to spreed the seeds and be spot on with you plant ID

Agreed. I would need to carefully burn all the flowers, etc. on the spot, where they're harvested. Probably in a largish oil can hobo stove, so nothing can escape until it's completely burnt.
I'd only take the stems (and maybe leaves) away from the source location.

It would also be necessary to keep returning a few times a year at least to clear out new plants before they can go to seed again. But if I'm camping there regularly that's doable.

Yes it's important to be 100% certain what you're dealing with. Lantana is easy to ID. The flowers and stems and unmistakable. It's everywhere here so I see it regularly (even though I'm on the coast now and not near bushland). I've seen council workers in bright colored suits spraying along the coast, which I'm certain is targeted at lantana. It has almost no impact though.

If I were to harvest different pest types I would definitely double and triple check it before I touch it.
 
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Askew

John McDouall Stuart
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Having done bushcare in a national park I can say there was some paperwork to do first so the legal side was covered. I'd agree that you're unlikely to get into much trouble for clearing lantana in a national park, but the possibility is there. It is technically illegal.
If you are going to do this, I would suggest that you do some research on the correct way of clearing lantana. I've never had to deal with the stuff so I can't give any advice on that side of things.
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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I don't know how effective lantana would be against rain and weather etc .... (there is one way to find out I guess) ....
but it would certainly make a great semi-permanent framework which you could then place a tarp or cover over.

(You could / should wear gloves if there is a risk of irritation)
 

ozbushy

Malcolm Douglas
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I have sheltered in a massive tangle of Lantana over night, just cleared away a hollow in side and put a tarp over it. Was done as a last minute shelter in the dark
 
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