Ecosystem collapse – not a government issue?

After a pleasing bit of rain, 35mm in the past week, less pleasing has been the announcement from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt that the recent wilderness declarations in Tassie will be reviewed.

The idea is apparently to remove areas degraded by logging that, if nothing else, would appear to be an admission that logging does not improve forests.

Over in Perth  the SMH reports on 20,000 ha of forest where large trees are continuing to die after ‘ecosystem collapse’ during drought in 2011.  According to researcher Professor Hardy: ” . . . We never used to see it [tree stress] this early and to the level we are seeing it 15 or 20 years ago, it is a product of many years of declining rainfall.”

The issue with this statement is that trees live for a very long time relative to people and in Australia we simply don’t have long term rainfall records. In addition, there are similar impacts on the east coast that can’t be a product declining rainfall.

The following map, part of my still in draft comments on the draft Commonwealth koala referral guidelines shows the Blind creek Catchment and Princes Highway re-alignment footprint. 

blind creekdpa

Of interest is the volume of gravel mapped in 1970, before the very large 1971 flood and the fact that gravel now extends along most, if not all, of the major water course.

The other point is that forest decline begins in the gullies and along streams at lower topographies where BMAD becomes a permanent feature and the negative impacts of dry weather, over shorter time frames, extend up-slope. These facts should point to  forest restoration actions aimed addressing the issues, if there was a Government interested in doing that.

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