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The Forum > Article Comments > Logging to save the planet > Comments

Logging to save the planet : Comments

By Mark Poynter, published 27/10/2006

Anti-forestry activism threatens to exacerbate warming and water problems.

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I do not believe in locking up the forests as keeping people away only encourages ignorance as people are denied the ability to learn what actually lives in the bush.

Where society needs to change in my view, is to begin adapting our homes so that they blend in with trees. By over land clearing to build houses increases the temperature and reduces rainfall.

Rockhampton(Australia) has experienced a dramatic drop in rainfall and increase of weather since over clearing for housing development. Such over land clearing that the local council cleared land never zoned for development, leading to salt rising to the surface.

I easily forgive our forefathers for they did not have the knowledge of the Australian environment, I can not forgive today's society as we do have the knowledge today. As a dollar figure to something, people suddenly care.
Posted by Spider, Friday, 27 October 2006 11:00:49 AM
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Interestingly another article in today's OLO blames afforestation for reduced water flows into reservoirs. I'm sure along with the other commentator that trees bring train; could be why it has just started snowing here in my leafy neighbourhood.

I don't disagree with selective logging particularly if aged trees are put to high value uses such as timber, not primarily woodchips. However I don't care for 'hot' burnoffs that consume fallen timber. I think recently fallen timber and understorey should harvested for pulping and new processes such as woodchips-to-diesel. I believe the quolls and lyrebirds will return if understorey harvesting is done in a patchwork fashion. Burning it is a waste of a resource as much as air pollution.
Posted by Taswegian, Friday, 27 October 2006 12:58:55 PM
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logging to save the planet, I dont know, but we need to stop logging and start expert guided regrowth of our forests or we are going to be drinking neutronium flavored water from processed sea water for which we will be paying a private enterprise a lot of money for, while we sit and view the border to border man made desert with carcasses of animals of we call Australia soon.

It all comes to the words 'atmospheric water vapour pressure', if it does not reach a critical level...no rain, even rain laiden clouds overhead are going to vanish without a drop if the local atmosphere is too dry.

On the other hand go for a walk in a forest that is yet allowed to survive, feel the moisture in the air which is held in by the canopy from the drying effect of the sun...leaving aside the peaceful feeling and calming effect...

Or take a plane ride towards the interior from the coast and see how quickly the land becomes dry and barren, the desert is encroaching at an alarming rate and almost at our back yard. We all have to do something soon.

If a government program to reforest all hill tops, while the lower inbetween areas are left for grazing, I will be there doing my bit to plant trees for I know that it will eventually lead to water from regular rainfall, water worth more that all money in the world when you dont have enough of it...

Sam
Posted by Sam said, Friday, 27 October 2006 7:25:53 PM
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If we feel the need to thin large portions of our dam catchments, which is an intensive, expensive and ecologically disruptive exercise, in order to increase water supply, then how on earth can we be just sitting back and accept that the demand on these water resources will continuing to increase with no end in sight?

As with most other writers of articles of this type on this forum, Mark Poynter has completely overlooked the continuously increasing demand side of the equation.

If we had addressed that factor a couple of decades ago, we wouldnít even need be thinking about thinning vegetation in catchments in order to increase runoff and storage capability.

And if we donít address that factor now, there is not going to be much point in increasing storage capability, because it wonít improve reliability of supply, it will simply cater for the ever-increasing population.

Similarly with selective logging. The argument in favour of carbon sequestration is fine. But if the author is just going to accept that human activity in this country, and thus overall greenhouse gas emissions, are going to increase with no end in sight, then whatís the point?

Alright, so WHEN we start addressing the issues of water supply and logging (or of resource-stress and supply in general) in a holistic manner, including total demand stabilisation, then and only then would I be able to condone these activities to some extent.

Everyone misses this point. And yet this is biggest and most important point of all. For goodness sake, letís not do things that we think are increasing resource supply security or improving our environmental credentials if they are going lead to exactly the opposite. And if they work towards facilitating population growth, that it is exactly what they will doing.
Posted by Ludwig, Saturday, 28 October 2006 12:01:56 PM
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Mark is good at expressing the industry view. The sad thing is that he probably believes what he writes. Native forests are complex ecological systems which have many values - but the industry apologists see only the timber (and most of the time they only see the value of wood chips).
The recent deal in the Strzeleckis, between Hancocks, the Victorian State Government and the community shows what can be done to protect the headwaters of catchments and the biodiversity values of unique forested areas. It was a win/win for everyone even though I have no doubt that Mark, as well as some in the community are not satisfied with the result
Posted by freeranger, Saturday, 28 October 2006 3:13:26 PM
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I take my hat off to those foresters with acumen and commendable foresight over the past century or so. They have been a small minority in their industry, and almost invariably fought losing battles against governments' direction and against that of their peers.
Unfortunately, not enough has changed, as demonstrated by this piece of antediluvian NGO-bashing dressed up as science.
"The scientifically acknowledged requirement to regularly burn the landscape to mimic natural processes must be undertaken by land management agencies--." Codswallop! The only scientific consensus resides in acknowledgment that regular burning produces a much more fire-prone understory than would be part of natural processes.
Fungal decomposition of forest-floor litter minimises, long-term, the fire hazard compared with regular prescribed burning. Its beneficial aspect has been demonstrated in the Olympic Mountains of north-west USA; and it is evident in the Australian scene to impartial observers.
The article is a curate's egg of good and bad, with minimum relevance to scientific underpinning for this serious topic.
The saddest part of all in its context is the total absence of the matter of growth. Not growth of forests, but growth of consumers in the water market.
Poynter might envisage the possibility of a few per cent improvement in forestry practices, but fails completely to show us how this will continue to provide adequately for our grandchildren's needs. It has the permanence of the British Prime Minister Neville Cahmberlain's pact with Hitler in 1939: "Peace in our time." God help our grandkids as Australia's population continues to grow at a million every four years - and faster if Industy has its way. Our present water deficiency, from "drought" (or is it the norm?), or overpopulation, is nothing to what they will face.
Posted by colinsett, Sunday, 29 October 2006 7:20:02 PM
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