Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Save our National Parks #green #agchat #agchatoz #ag #agvocate

State Forests and National Parks need to be preserved. Save the Koalas. Give our native flora and fauna a chance to thrive. City and country folk alike are pursuing these interests. I'm all for it. So are my neighbours and friends. The people in this district have been the guardians of our State Forests ever since they have been declared as such. We own the surrounding freehold land and lease the grazing rights to the forestry. Our job includes managing pests, fire, and grazing pressure. We clear away debris and small trees to allow the bigger trees to thrive, preserving habitats for our native fauna. This has a knockon effect of reducing fuel for bushfires so that if one does flare up it does not consume all of the forest and surrounding farmland. WE DO THIS FOR FREE.

But we're about to be sacked from our job. The Queensland State Government has decided that they will not be renewing forestry leases in the future. There will not be anyone employed or otherwise to manage these forests. It sounds like a good plan. Shut up the forests and let them go back to nature. Images come into my head including more koalas in the trees, possums playing on the ground. Kangaroos hopping around and eating grass underneath a canopy of ultra-tall, green leafy trees. Sounds good hey.

Let's get a reality check though. We have to consider that these State Forests border farmland in which people and grazing animals live. There are trees there too. And how is government going to shut up the Forests? They won't be erecting a twenty feet high chain link fence, let me tell you. If anything, there will be a starpicket fence with three rows of barbed wire, but I doubt that too. Likely, they'll just not renew the lease and tell farmers not to go in there. Okay, but who's going to tell the cattle?

This is what will happen. The cute little fluffy animals that live there now will have to go elsewhere because the dams that they were watering at will at best not be maintained, at worst, be filled in by the government because they aren't natural. That leaves the feral animals such as wild dogs and pigs to have the run of the place. They'll wander in and out of our farmland and clean up our young cattle and sheep. Cattle will get in there too, as will horses, and these too will go feral. Debris from trees and shrubs will mount up, providing a large amount of fuel. It may not be for a couple of years but I guarantee, there'll be a scorching hot summer one year and a bushfire will rage through the place, the likes of which have not been seen in one hundred years. What's left of our cute and fluffy native fauna (if they haven't been eaten by wild dogs) will be decimated, as will their homes and habitat. They won't be back for a generation. The fire won't respect the boundaries of the forest either. It'll sweep right across our farmland and clean up our feed, our cattle and our houses.

I put it to you that the cost to our State Forests and indeed our community will be far greater if the government goes ahead with its plan not to renew forestry leases. We don't want payment. We don't need acknowledgement. Just let us continue doing the job we've been doing. There is already legislation in place to prevent overclearing of land. This policy is just another method of purchasing votes with no consideration of the real consequences.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Michelle - great to see someone putting out the argument for our forest leases. My uncle is in the same dilemma.

    I am putting together a group at my place called Bush Bloggers - would love to include your link. Pop on over and let me know it that's okay? I am at http://bushbabeofoz.com