Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The real cause of our terrible bushfires

Recent media statements by the logging industry about "the Greens being responsible for Victoria's bushfires" and why they think the solution is "more logging and burning of native forests" are way off the mark.

Here is an example: Locking up precious forest areas is playing with fire

The Department of Sustainabililty and the Bracks government currently determine forest management practices, not the Greens. Current practices include both significant fuel reduction burning and logging. In addition, much of the forest burnt in this year's terrible fires was badly burnt in the fires of Eastern Victorian alpine bushfires of 2003.

Two major contributing factors to the very bad bushfires in Victoria this year are that:

  • Logging has actually increased the fire risk in Victoria by progressively replacing cool temperate rainforest pockets with drier and more fire prone eucalypt forests.
  • Climate change has now reduced our rainfall, so the forests are much drier than usual

Next the rapacious logging industry will lobby for "salvage logging" of our burnt forests under the pretext that this is also "good management". However, this will further damage our forests, as the logging will disturb and remove many of the trees before they can regenerate, and will destroy many hollow trees that provide habitat for animals that survive the bushfires.

It is time for the logging and woodchipping industry to get out of our native forests and start using the oversupply of plantation timber that is available. There are enough jobs in plantation-based industries to replace all those involved in the rapidly declining native forest industry.


Anonymous said...

Unlike yourself, I live in area which was under direct threat from the fires on more than occassion.

The "Greens" may not be directly responsible for conservation management practises, but you and I both know they certainly a very vocal and influential factor to be taken into account. At the end of the day, no matter what spin you may like to put on it, these fires would have had a significantly reduced impact if rigorous fuel reduction had been undertaken previously. Like it or not, no fuel, no fire. Thems the bare facts.

As for your ideas as to what caused the fires....Well, you seem to be forgetting that these were very widespread fires that effected different environments. My area was particularily well off for water the week prior to the fires coming close. It's a little simplistic to say climate change and logging caused the fires, wouldn't you say? It was lightning actually, that came out of a storm that also dropped rain!!!! Who'd have thubk it?

Further, this area is not one of temeperate rainforests but rather one of Redgum Plains and inhospitable forest. There never have been much in the way of temperate rainforests. I'm not sure which particular area you're talking about when you make this statement, but as you can see, your theory does not apply to my area.

Peter Campbell said...

Thanks for your views.

I have lived, worked and walked in areas under direct threat from fires so I know what it is like to be confronted by a fire.

I think you greatly overestimate the influence the Greens have on DSE or the Bracks government. In my view, the Bracks government is in the thrall of the logging industry and the CFMEU.

The fires burnt just as strongly in areas where rigorous fuel reduction had been undertaken previously, so your argument for increased reduction burning does not hold up.

There is general consensus that the problem is the forests are so dry, so they can't stop fires burning once they start.

There is also now general consensus that climate change is a key factor in causing the drought, so there is now a clear link.

I drove past the main storm that started the fires with lightning behind Mt Buffalo and elsewhere. But this time the fires kept burning all the way down to Gippsland.

I'm glad to hear that your local Redgum forest survived. It sound like your area was one of the lucky ones.