Political desperation meets cross your fingers management

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s highly divisive announcement this week that, in addition to revoking World Heritage areas, the government intends to destroy the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and set up a Forest Advisory council, is as bizarre as it is desperate. 

Not that I particularly support the agreement but, given 90% of  the Tasmanian population do, I wonder why anyone in their right mind would to completely ignore majority public opinion

Institute of Foresters national director Rob De de Fégely, also on Vic forests board of directors, has been selected to head up the advisory body. Speaking on ABC local radio yesterday, Mr de Fégely essentially re-iterated previous Institute of Foresters claims that, ‘ … sustainable forest management principles and practices for native
wood production forests have been in place for more than a decade. This is the reason why these forests are in such good shape and why they are overflowing
and thriving with biodiversity’.

Speaking next was Nature Net’s Mike Thompson who wrongly suggested carbon was not accounted for when the RFA’s were undertaken. Next was former wood-chipper Vince Phillips. Vince thinks the recent fires have produced produce more GHG’s than logging, this year’s RFA review is important and whinged about having to deal with conservationists who only want more national parks.

Finally, and perhaps only because like Vince, I too was involved in the process leading up to the RFAs, my comments were directed at how forestry and the industry had failed to comply with the RFAs. Hence, they cannot be trusted and what’s needed is a much smarter approach to forest management.

Later in the day, NSW Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts announced the NSW gov will be allowing bio-materials to be burnt to generate electricity. The materials allowed to burned include invasive native species, yet to be defined at a regional scale, tree heads, sawmill waste and pulp logs.


Photograph NPWS: Ian Dicker

The Greens were quick to respond, naturally opposed to the idea but, this is only because the Greens think understanding the environment isn’t necessary to achieve their long term aim,  an end wood chipping. Hence, potential benefits to forests from the changes are also not considered. 

What the Greens do support is the NPWS and its generally deluded and increasingly reckless approach to forest management.

This week the NPWS began its autumn burning program starting with an ‘ecological burn’ of heath in Ben Boyd NP. National Parks Regional Manager, Tim Shepherd, said “It is a matter of crossing fingers because the bush in the escarpment areas in places is still extremely dry . . . There is still the chance that we will have wildfires and I really would’ve like to have had a gap between the fire season where we’re putting out fires to the start of the hazard reduction season where we’re lighting them up.”

As indicated in the shot above, the NPWS have dropped burning down slope to reduce fire intensity, preferring a hot burn. Similarly, 25 degrees C used to be the upper temperature limit for burning but, this too has been abandoned.

Consequently, the ecological fire jumped containment lines, burned over 250 hectares and sections of the park remain closed.


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