Monday, May 23, 2016

It's not all about trees

One of the real stumbling blocks to sound action on environmental planning( even in 2016 ) is the public's perception that the best kind of land system is a treed one .Distraction and simple solutions the diverse environment does NOT need .
The fact is that the coldest and driest landscapes ( more than1/2 earth) have soils and stable ecosystems where trees are not really suited or rare ,temporary and have  a shorter life within the system  .( like our wattles) Such trees rely on hard and large seed which can last for decades and between fires  They seed and die ovr a few years rather than in one season , Trees also are not suited to poorly drained soils  making them unsustainable partners  in mainataining resilient and full ecosyst in many soils around the world  which have this characteristic of ageing.  Huge areas of Australia including our foothills and wet areas have poor onsite drainage ( More on this elsewhere ) .

It has to be said that too many trees have been planted in Australia in ignornance of the soils and the viability and sustainability of the unqiue ecosystemes involved. Many eucalptys die early when planted like orphans out side a forests when they were born to find home within them  . They might be local but every local is only sustainable because of his mates . Too much Green talk is bar talk not living working talk about ecosystem function and resilience in the long term - including agroecosystems which usually diversify the monocultural landscapes created by fire .
 Most eucalypts  need  a forest  for company to thrive and survive , To really thrive they also need a fire and the devastastion of their mates that unwisely offends so many - its nature and we are called to live with nature not pretend it is not nice.We can and have actually improved our native soils so much that ecodiversity in Australia is greater than if we left to the blunt forces of nature .  Typically too , a wide range of  eucalyptus will have their leaves pruned off them very easily if planted in isolation.   

Even though  Victorian and Australian southern and coastal areas get winter rain over for over 6 months it is effcetively dry for the others . This can present a signicant problem for trees in shallow soils, Our climate zone is semiarid  and the major part of lowland areas are naturally grassland. Same with the rest of Australia.

Recently as part of the federal election campaign,  the major opposition party used the shallow preoccupation with trees to infer a problem with how farmers treat them ;This action was wrong and uses simple prejudice about an extremely important issue ( ecosystem resilience) to try to win points for a party or two
 Yes we understand  that clearing of  wattles and overmature dead trees is seen as a problem for many.  Wattles will break down and not store carbon so even if we were to leave those landscapes that last phase of dying is very expensive for the carbon budget and the health of soils;  as history and the prehistory of Australia shows; in degraded, hardsetting and porly drained soils. The only ones who get some benefit from this long winded degradation process are the ants and they have to chew so hard its expensive on our energy budget
Despite what some noisy wannabes say  we can be do a better job than the ants have done over their very long ownership of this land - no their copartnership with this land  ( the ecological way )  .
Even the recent ABC 's landline program on the subject of clearing failed to put the picture of Rangeland ecology in a way which would have supported the farmers case for clearing more objectively .Our city people are liv
ng in ignorance of the big picture and the great work both scientists and farmers have done to increase the variety of sustainable  ecosystems operating across the Australian landscape.
Here is my submission to their stupid suggestion 
"There is no need for more legislation to control clearing of forest to agriculture  Only a few acres of freehold forest is ever likely again to be converted to  agriculture in the future as the State legislation is tight . We know it appeals to the city at election time to spread more panic amongst the city. Fitzgibbon  could say “ We, unlike the Greens, happen to know that blokes featured on Landline mostly just want to clear wattles and overmature growth from their grazing properties . These trees are only temporary and only grow because their land is not overgrazed.”

“The farmers are looking after this grazing land ,and if they are not, their leases would be cancelled – been that way for decades .
We should all be supporting this form of freehold and leasehold rangeland management, not poking our noses in with ignorance and fear like the Greens do.  These areas are natural rangeland ecosystems where grass is the dominant vegetation”. Why are the fearful trying to stop the farmers from doing what the fungi , fire and ants will do anyway .Why don’t you prosecute these animals and the elephants of Africa for sending the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere?
if you in the party were serious about a CC policy that works,  you would have had a  tax on city tractors yesterday . No I said,  a decade ago !  It’s not about integrity , it’s about winning votes.

If Fitzgibbon and Butler had any integrity they would say to their party” we can’t do this.”  “This what the Greens do   -win arguments on appearances like the picture of dark steam coming out of cooling towers and this  jumping in and accusing others of some abuse without studying the ecosystems and management processes involved ; and  without mentioning city tractors in cc policy.
This is allocated managed rangeland and unless you want to buy the whole lot back you are saying they can’t control weeds and regenerate pasture like the aborigines did and do. “
If Fitzgibbon and Butler had any integrity they would say to their party,   we  don’t want any more of our agents killed on the farmers doorsteps trying  to tell the farmers  they are getting free lightbulbs but taking away their livelihood. We would be more honest to say the United Nations require us to buy back your farms and then do it – if we really believed it was such a necessary policy. “

If Fitzgibbon and Butler had any integrity they would say to their party” we can’t do this”. “We’d be no better than the Greens. The Greens would do anything to get into power –They don’t care about casting snide on a minority who appear to be doing the wrong thing but are not; It Is so easy to pick on one group and say they are ones to worry about .A CC policy that would work must involve all of us .
 If Fitzgibbon and Butler had any integrity they would say to their party” we can’t do this”   “If this is how we win elections I want no part of it.” .   
We hope the people of Australia will have some integrity in July and will say to the parties who live on snide and suspect criticism of others.
“If that is how they win elections, I want no part of it “ 

I write 5 weeks before the election . the recognition of this slight of hand takes some work es as CC ( climate change or supposed heating due to higher Co2 ) is the large elephant  or should I say sacred cow in the room .

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