Monday, February 03, 2020

A bit about Wetlands and a lot about why we need to give logging the chop, at least for now




Today is World Wetland Day, but since I have written about the importance of wetlands several times and am in the middle of an online stoush with a gentleman who thinks trees won’t help to reduce global warming and that what we really need is more cattle, I won’t go into it too deeply today. I will say that if our wetlands were intact we would be less likely to be having such severe fish kills or flooding, because wetlands slow down water flow when it rains thus helping to prevent erosion and the release of sediment into rivers. This is especially important following any kind of land clearing and particularly in the wake of the terrible bushfires we have been having.  Of course wetlands also provide a niche for a great variety of birds and wildlife and act as filters to trap pollutants before they reach our waterways.


For similar reasons, we should not be rushing to log what is left of our burnt out bushland either as this too will increase erosion and remove any protection from harsh winds. Otherwise we will continue to see more dust storms like those which have engulfed parts of New South Wales.

Secondly, in the case of Eucalyptus forest, many of these trees will regenerate by themselves, thereby saving not only a great deal of carbon release, but greatly reducing growing time. If the ground remains undisturbed by the kind of broad scale mechanised logging and clear –felling which is practised here, the seeds (many of which require fire to germinate, will quickly recreate ground cover, protect new growth and seedlings and will provide shade and feed for stock and displaced animals far more quickly and without months and years of  hand -planting or aerial seeding. All these things will become more not less important as temperatures become hotter, the land becomes drier and the weather in general becomes more erratic.
Lastly, because of the huge toll on our wildlife and our forests there should be a moratorium on all logging until a thorough assessment has been done, because while the timber industry may be hurting at present and unable to meet pre -bushfire obligations, the net worth of our unique wildlife and forests intrinsically and to tourism etc.not to mention the environment in general and their usefulness in reducing emissions, will exceed whatever pittance we can get for remnant timber sold for wood pellets to Japan.  [The only exception I would make is for the removal of unstable trees in danger of falling on our roads, dwellings or power lines].  

What we never, ever want to see again is what happened in Portland (Victoria) recently where live Koalas were killed in the course of clear felling.  This was plantation timber on private property, but even then, the owners are legally obliged to properly take account of the animals thereon and ensure their protection. Do not watch this video if you are squeamish. If you do, make sure you let the companies concerned know what a travesty this is, especially at the present time.They should never be allowed to log here again and their contracts should not only be rescinded, but they should make immediate restitution e.g. such as immediately establishing a Koala plantation on that clear fell in the background and turning any unlogged parts into a Koala Sanctuary.

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