Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cattle grazing in Victoria's alpine areas is not acceptable

A letter to Robert Clark MP, copied to Premier Ted Bailleu.

Dear Robert

Congratulations on winning government.

I am however not pleased to be writing to you as my local member about the Baillieu government's ill-considered actions in allowing cattle to return to graze in Victoria's Alpine National Park.

Cattle have no place in sensitive alpine environments. They cause far too much damage trampling sensitive streams and bogs and their excrement pollutes the environment and water supplies. I have seen this destruction at first hand in the Victorian Alps.

I assisted a PhD student in 1984 whose thesis researched and measured the impacts of alpine grazing. Unsurprisingly, his published results stated that cattle grazing had major impacts on sensitive alpine ecosystems.

This action by the Baillieu government is not supported by a majority of Victorians. It benefits very few people. Our Alpine National Park should be protected from cattle grazing, as the adjacent Kosciusko National Park in NSW has been for decades.

This action will compromise Victoria's alpine environments and jeopardise their World Heritage listing.

I strongly urge you to reverse this decision and provide our Alpine National Park the protection from cattle grazing that science has confirmed in requires. Can you please table my concerns in both your party room and the Victorian parliament about this on my behalf?

Regards, Peter Campbell


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Grant said...

Evening Peter
Did the PhD student in 1984 look at the effect of fuel reduction through cattle grazing in alpine areas. Do cattle stomping on fuel, reduce the need for forrest workers to undertake large amounts of fuel reduction burns ?
Using Gippsland areas around the Thompson dam as an example, I believe that there will need to be a huge amount of fuel reduction burns, if there are sufficient workers to undertake, through all of our alpine areas before next summer, else there will be very dangerous levels of fuel.
If cattle can assist in reducing the fuel levels, and also reduce need for large amounts of fuel reduction burns, it must be better for both CO2 emissions, and wild life in the burn off areas.
I honestly have never seen any figures on fuel reduction through cattle grazing, but if it is possible to reduce a large amount of fuel reduction burns, then it must be better for both carbon emissions and environment.

Peter Campbell said...

Grant, the PhD student did not look at fuel reduction. His thesis concerned the environmental impact of cattle grazing.

I think the effect of cattle stomping on fuel would be negligible.

Your suggested choice between more fuel reduction burns or more cattle is a false dichotomy.

Fuel reduction burns themselves need to be informed by proper science, not just done for the sake of it.

It was interesting to note that large parts of the Armstrong Creek catchment that had not been subject to fuel reduction burns were more fire-resistant that adjacent forests of Lake Mountain and surrounds.

I find it also interesting that a NSW academic is conduction this "research". I would have thought a Victorian would be better placed to do it.

It is also interesting that the extensive Victorian Bushsfires Royal Commission made no findings on cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park as a fire mitigant.

This policy (and the subterfuge in introducing it) looks like a load of cowshit to me.

Grant said...

As I said I have not seen any figures on cattle reducing fuel loads, but the Gov does urgently need to start planning on how to reduce fuel loads after the previous rains. Obviously they cannot provide unlimited staff to reduce loads, so controlled burns are probably the only alternative
I hate to think how much carbon emissions are pumped into the atmosphere with a large bush fire, but obviously emissions through natural disasters would need to be excluded from any international agreements, as they are out of the control of the State and Federal Govs (ie. the electorates).