Koalas, the NBN and levels of habitat management

Yesterday on ABC radio, NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker announced that the NPWS have produced a new interactive game website for kids that requires a broadband connection. According to Parker’s press release it is an “ innovative new program aimed at inspiring a love of nature in young children and motivating families to get out and enjoy the panorama”.

Also yesterday the Bega Shire Council had a meeting that according to their agenda , required an adjournment into a closed session to confidentially discuss the National Broadband Network.

Exactly why Council needed a closed session is unclear but it would be reassuring to think that both the state and local governments had the environment high on their agendas when considering the rollout of the NBN.

Recently FNSW have stopped referring to the ‘Forest Types’ in Harvesting Plans and while it’s not clear if this is a permanent omission, understanding what trees are in any given area is a fundamental requirement.

The new draft Australian Forestry Standard also requires an inventory and at a broader scale, concerns expressed in a scientific review from the northern hemisphere pointing to “key information gaps and scientific uncertainties that currently hinder our ability to predict tree mortality in response to climate change and emphasizes the need for a globally coordinated observation system.”

Although the capacity to gather relevant information has been available for some time, getting the agencies to do it properly is impossible. With the NBN comes the opportunity to gather much needed data, the capacity for input from a broad cross-section of the community and largely removes the biggest obstacle to a credible scientific approach, the ‘human factor’.

Of course it will take decision makers to understand that much work is needed to adequately manage koalas and their habitat and to be of any use, the methods for a ‘coordinated observation system’ must be relevant at local scale. Should this outcome be achieved  the information gathered will also be useful at the broader bioregional, national and global levels.

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