Saturday, February 4, 2023


Letters & responses

Philip Zylstra’s response #4 – self-thinning forest understoreys and wildfire debate

The critique of our study of fire history in southwestern forests illustrates the difficulty of discussion around such emotive issues. We reported that according to Departmental records, bushfires were seven times more likely in areas of forest that still had the dense understorey that had been germinated by prescribed burns than they were in other areas where the understorey had self-thinned because it had been left alone. These are the facts, but they leave us at an impasse.

Peter Rutherford to Philip Zylstra #2 – self-thinning forest understoreys and wildfire debate

Both researchers I referenced show regular low intensity burning, as practised by Aboriginal people across the landscape, has been lost and Dr Fletcher believes the loss of cool, mosaic burning since European settlement has left us, as a nation, dangerously fire prone. Philip Zylstra seems to have missed this critical point.

Philip Zylstra’s response #3 – self-thinning forest understoreys and wildfire risk debate

The mapped fire histories of the southwestern forests show that bushfires have been most frequent in forests with dense understoreys promoted by previous burns, and far less common in areas that have not been burned for several decades, allowing the understorey to naturally thin. Two new voices have entered the discussion on this here and made numerous claims, but their ill-informed comments have distracted from the point.

First ever native stubble quail count in Victoria finds only 101 birds: Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting

RVOTDS. Game Management Authority (GMA) (Vic) arranged a first-ever count of Stubble Quails in Victoria early this year, and the resultant report it assisted in drafting, has recently been published. The report’s authors have admitted only 101 birds were counted, yet the figure was extrapolated via complex methodologies up to an extraordinary estimate of 3.1 million.

A vision splendid for the Central West and Western Tablelands: from a Bells Expressway

From a Concerned Citizen: Messers Toole and Farraway are vocal proponents of the so-called “upgrade” of the Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Lithgow. ... The project does not deliver an expressway to Sydney - it leaves the Central West and Western Tablelands the only region in NSW without an expressway to Sydney ... The vision that should be adopted and made a reality is a standalone expressway between Western Sydney and Lithgow: the Bells Expressway.

Mackeral need protection from anglers, politicians

Dave Donald. While anti-fishing groups have long been opposed to recreational fishing, to claim they have colluded in a major way to “slash Spanish mackerel quotas” is a fabrication. Seeking to lay the blame for the depletion of Spanish mackerel stocks solely on Labor is another furphy as exceptionally poor fisheries management under BOTH major parties essentially created the current situation.

Illegal dumping on cane farms must stop

Peak sugarcane organisation CANEGROWERS is seeking urgent discussions with local government amid an escalation of people using Queensland farms as dumping grounds ... ARR.News asked some further questions of CANEGROWERS on this costly problem.

Carbon credit profits as primary production income – Carbon Count CEO Phil Mulvey’s view

"The latest government announcement about primary producers being able to claim their carbon credit profits as part of their primary production income looks positive indeed. What is important to understand however is that this development, whilst positive, is only benefiting those primary producers that have already started a carbon farming project and are soon ready to sell. What this development doesn't doesn't do is incentivise farmers to take up a carbon project in the first place; the key issue we need to overcome to meet our netzero2050 targets. What we need most now are governmental incentives that mitigate the financial barriers of entry for farmers and enable them to get started fast": Phil Mulvey.

Timber harvesting in native forests: Forestry Australia

Forestry Australia considers that active management, including timber production, is vital to the sustainability of native forests and provides many benefits to Australian society. Forestry Australia advocates for ongoing research on timber harvesting in native forests to support this capability in Australia.

Threatened species strategy action plan – Questions for Minister Ley and the Department’s response

Australian Rural & Regional News sought clarification from Minister Ley on a number of points, including consultation with and the role of farmers and landowners generally, and received a response, required to be attributed to a spokesperson (unnamed) from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Threatened species strategy action plan – Questions for Minister Ley

Australian Rural & Regional News seeks clarification from Minister Ley regarding the Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021-2026 and Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031 on a number of points including consultation with, and the role of farmers and landowners generally.

A Greater Future with Gliders: Kinglake Friends of the Forest responds

The adorable Greater Glider is in trouble. It is threatened by fire and logging and its population has crashed by over 80% this century ... VicForests – a logging company owned by the government – wants to clear much of what’s left of the Greater Glider’s habitat.

Opportunities for improved fire management in Australia: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell analyses recent positive US policy developments and land management commitments aimed at confronting the US wildfire/ bushfire crisis and finds that there is much Australia might learn from the US strategy.

Timber Act lawfare loophole must be closed: Forest and Wood Communities Australia

Forest & Wood Communities Australia is calling on the Andrews Government to close the loophole in the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 (Vic) which has enabled activist vigilantes to devastate the livelihoods of regional Victorians. FWCA answers some further questions from ARR.News.

Ongoing forestry debate: Senator Jonno Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries

As I have consistently said, science, facts and non-emotive debate are what is needed when it comes to making the big decisions about the future of our primary industries – or indeed any public policy decision. Unfortunately the same view is clearly not held by anti-forestry ideologues, including those Labor governments in both Victoria and Western Australia who have decided to shut down their sustainable forest industries without any discernible evidence to do so.

Hang on, what about inadequate fuel reduction burning and consequent build up of 3 D fuels? : John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell provides a number of points in response to CSIRO findings on fuel loads, prescribed burning, climate change and forest fire activity in Australia over the last three decades.

We’ve learnt nothing from Black Summer : Vic Jurskis

Einstein supposedly said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Australia’s current approach to forest management is insane ... Now the Senate’s Finance and Public Administration Committee has published “Lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-20”. It would be amusing if not for the ongoing dire consequences.

We need a new shared vision for Australia’s forests: Forestry Australia

Recent catastrophic bushfires and reports of threats to species have highlighted concerns about the management of Australia’s forests. Most prominently, there are increasing concerns that forest management is failing to ensure forest health, build ecosystem resilience and protect threatened species. These concerns are real, but the key drivers are not well understood. A body of opinion and media coverage often presents timber harvesting as the primary threat to forest ecosystems and suggests that creating more national parks will protect threatened species and habitats and reduce the risk of severe bushfires. Yet the situation is far more complex.

CSIRO climate cop-out ignores the science : Vic Jurskis

Dr Canadell said in response to my comment: “Our study doesn’t discuss forest management.” This statement is Not True ... Dr Canadell and his colleagues failed to consider critical evidence which demolishes the CSIRO argument.

To burn or not to burn? Is that the question? : SETA

Peter Rutherford. This photo essay may provide a different perspective on the questions as to whether we burn and if we do burn, how often. Perhaps the relevant question is not whether we burn but how do we burn.

We don’t need to chew the fat, we need to rekindle the firestick : Vic Jurskis

The whole landscape needs maintenance by mild fire. But academics and fire chiefs talk of asset protection zones, strategic zones and management zones with different fire regimes. They just don’t get it. Firebreaks don’t work in extreme weather. They can’t stop firestorms and long-distance ember showers. If you need to reduce accumulated fuel, you haven’t been maintaining the landscape properly.

Megafires: Vic Jurskis replies to Prof Bradstock

Dear Editor, Ross Bradstock’s response failed to address “the recommended fire frequency thresholds” aka ‘Bradstock Intervals’, which featured in his NRC media release and my commentary on it. Those ‘recommended’ intervals are severely restricting the mild burning which is essential to maintain healthy and safe landscapes ... Furthermore, three aspects of the Emeritus Professor’s response elucidate my argument that megafires are a purely political crisis ...

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