Our vision is healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy animals. We take an Ecological Restoration approach towards conservation rather than that of a War on Weeds. We believe that soil is more than dirt and that it is the health of the complex ecosystem of soil organisms that we need to regain and maintain as the basis for ecosystem health. Our work contributes to an increasing literature supporting this view.

Our Aim

To promote a chemical-free Ecological Restoration approach towards conservation as an alternative to the use of toxic pesticide to remove any non-native species.

To raise awareness of the dangers of toxic agricultural pesticides to human health and our environment by circulating independent research papers on the dangers of Glyphosate and other widely used chemicals.

To meet and net work with other groups or individuals in Australia and overseas using organic techniques to restore degraded ecosystems.

To support organic farmers by providing information on chemical-free techniques to restore the natural aspects of their land.


Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare Group is a not-for-profit organization situated in Byron Shire, NSW, Australia. We are concerned with widespread and unnecessary use of toxic pesticides for environmental weed control on public and private lands under the banner of landcare. There is large-scale herbicide use in lawn and garden maintenance and on public spaces – road sides, drains, parks, sports field and children’ play grounds. Our concerns rise from latest independent researchers pointing the dangers of commonly use pesticides like, glyphosate, for human healthy and our environment.

Using chemical-free techniques the BSCFL is currently working in a 4.5 hectare site south of Brunswick Heads Surf . This site was heavily degraded by sand mining up to the 1970s which saw the planting of environmental weeds Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera), and Tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) and the subsequent invasion of difficult weeds like Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) .

To record the progress of regeneration, we have established research plots through our site to document changes to weed and native species. We find that when the native canopy gets up and the soil web has recovered, the annuals diminish and natives are advantaged.

We are a very dedicated group of volunteers. Our group meets twice a month, focusing on primary work in the cooler months of the year, autumn and winter and as the weather warms up, spring and summer, we do easier work – follow up Bitou Bush seedlings. These are initially very prolific but soon diminish.


Our group emerged from widespread community concern about the repeated aerial spraying for Bitou bush by Crown Lands and NSW National Parks along the coast in Byron Shire. 

Rose Wanchap, a local resident who had developed sensitivity towards glyphosate, advertised in the local media raising public awareness about the dangers of this pesticide, which is the most widely used herbicide in Australia and, indeed, in the world. The ads called people to push for a ban on helicopter spraying along the coast. (In 2012, Rose was elected to the Byron Shire Council. She is now working strongly towards the elimination of pesticide use in Council’s public spaces.) Through Rose’s ad, more than 200 people protested at South Golden Beach, north of Byron Shire.

From this, our group was founded in May 2010 by film makers Asa Mark & Hilary Bain. During the first year (2010-11) funding was provided by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NRCMA) under the Caring for our Country Program and sponsored by Mullumbimby Community Gardens. $5000 funding was offered by NRCMA for the 2011-12 year but was rejected both for the extra administrative work involved and constraints imposed on media releases. Our program is now reliant on donations.

Under the professional supervision of bush regenerator Nadia de Sousa Pietramale, and botanical support and strategy advise from Ellen White, the many volunteers have shared wonderful times learning about country.  Thank you all. It has been so exciting to watch the shape of the country emerge from the sea of Bitou.

We thank Byron Shire Mayor at the time, Jan Barham, and Councillors for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique.

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