Koalas and talking about soil security

Koalas are a key indicator of soil fertility and due to their belief that “Challenges to the health and functioning of our soil pose significant issues for the future of humanity and the planet’, the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and United States Studies Centre recently held a research symposium titled ‘Soil Security’, including an open forum asking ‘WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT SOIL?’

The convenor of the forum Professor Robert Hill, said that ‘ in terms of immediate effects on human health, soil degradation is a much bigger deal than climate change, yet we rarely hear it discussed in the media or by governments.’

As we know the NSW Government agencies, FNSW and the EPA, have had a deal since 1996 that allows FNSW to determine if soils are dispersible and if they are, the prescription then completely misses the point, as it applies to stream crossing erosion. However, it was in 1997 when both soil landscape mapping and FNSW’s koala recovery plan were released that the regional conservation movement decided to go along with FNSW and since then have ignored soils.

A recent example demonstrating things haven’t changed was the story in the Narooma News when Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said ‘Public money is now being spent on a misguided biodiversity project’ unfortuntately the SERCA spokespeople, Prue Acton and Harriet Swift made no comment on this issue.

Rather, SERCA continue to ignore die-back and seem committed to an anti-soil science campaign with regard to koalas, so while Prue Acton may say ‘Putting Forests NSW in charge of a significant far south coast biodiversity grant is a recipe for disaster,” it would seem the question ‘WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT SOIL?’, can be applied to the conservation movement as readily as it can to FNSW, the EPA, NPWS and the logging industry.

Failed Department of Lands ‘Tree Species Trial’ (1988) on the edge of the ‘treeless plains’, east of Cooma.



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