It is Time for a rethink into forestry practices in our native forests
- The authors of this website have great respect for all those people who are currently employed in the forest industries. We live in the same towns, the same communities. We respect their rights to have different opinions. They are highly skilled, many working in dangerous jobs, with many of them having years of experience working in our native forests, they possess a great depth of environmental and corporate knowledge.
- The time for change has been forced on all of us by circumstances beyond our control, however change we must. We can no longer continue business as usual. We must start to adapt. That time is NOW!
- The practice of clear-fell logging can no longer continue. The cost to water yield in the catchments of our streams is catastrophic. Destruction of the biosphere by clear-fell logging and burning contributes to greenhouse gases that are causing climate change that alters our patterns of rainfall and temperatures. They are inextricably linked. Deforestation worldwide is a major cause of climate change.
- Clear-fell logging is deforestation pure and simple.
Let us debunk the myth that foresters will try to sell to the public (that is) that regrowth will act as a carbon sink to absorb carbon dioxide.
This is the equivalent of the famous metaphor that comes out of the Vietnam War …” We had to destroy the village to save it.”
The hypocrisy here when it comes to clear-felling of our native forest is spellbinding: A carbon store has been destroyed and all the carbon lost to the atmosphere. Why? you might ask. In order for young growing forest to act as a carbon store!?
- Don’t take our word for it! In their 2008 book ‘Climate change: what you can do about it: at work, at home, at school’, Paul Holper and Simon Torok – both long standing eminent science communicators who at the time worked for the CSIRO stated the following:
“Double whammy deforestation enhances the Greenhouse effect by increasing carbon dioxide emissions into the air, it also enhances the impacts of climate change – with less vegetation to soak up heavy rain the risks of floods and landslides increases…. “(p121)
- Currently deforestation contributes to one fifth of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions. Australia contains the world’s sixth largest area of native forests – more than one fifth of our land mass.
- At current rates, deforestation will release between 80 to 130 billion tonnes of carbon by 2100. This is greater than the amount of carbon that would be released by more than 10 years of global fossil fuel combustion.
- Most of the forests being clear-felled in Victoria are less than 70 years old.
- These are immature forests that are still absorbing carbon dioxide. Even regrowth forests will be harvested before they reach anywhere near maturity.
- The truth is that Vic Forests and their interstate counterparts are only interested in harvesting cellulose. Regrowth areas will be deforested long before they can store anywhere near the carbon that the original forest was able to store.
- The myth that regrowth will be a carbon store is a total furphy. And the industry is well-aware of this, however they continue to hoodwink not only the public but their shareholders.
- The regrowth will be cleared, burned and reseeded in a thirty-year cycle that depletes the soil, dumps huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and diminishes water yield further and further. Water yield by uptake of regrowth monoculture is depleted by a further 20%.
- In a spiral of soil and water depleting activities, the land use is severely degraded over time –over and over- until it is left totally exhausted and irreconcilably
…. So much for the intentions of Vic Forests and their industrial scale resource multinational corporations!
Single tree species regrowth destroys all forms of biodiversity.
“Each year of the 6 billion tonnes of carbon emitted, about a quarter is absorbed by the earths forest.” (Climate change: what you can do about it: at work, at home, at school by Paul Holper and Simon Torok, 2008, p122)
- Plantation forestry is how land -previously cleared for agriculture – can be used for;
- preserving existing native forests
- provide better fire management.
- The amount of land that can be turned over to reforestation is limited, so the destruction of existing forests becomes critical in the fight against climate change.
- Clear-fell logging of native forest is no longer possible. The pretence that reseeding with single species will enable repeated cropping and act as a carbon store is patently false!
- A tree absorbs about 60kg of carbon per year from the atmosphere. It converts it through the process of photosynthesis into sugars and fibres enabling it to grow.
The average person emits 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. To offset all your emissions, you need to plant 333 trees per year. or at least prevent the clear-felling of thousands of trees in EVERY logging coupe.
The reality is that we need to do both to combat climate change.
- An offset, needs to be IN ADDITION to what would normally occur. The actions of clear-felling and then reseeding, does not create an offset. Offsets must create a credit above all else.
- Personal action on climate change is imperative for our survival. There remains no choice. The economic and social consequences of climate change means that it will cost us more to do nothing. WE MUST ACT.
- The PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE states that when an activity raises threats or harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures then should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
- If the evidence suggests that climate change is real, then the Precautionary Principle requires us to act as if it is real. If it is real, we can be assured that we have acted both responsibly and appropriately. However, if we act as if it isn’t real and it turns out it is, then it certainly does matter. It could cost the Earth!
Managing by Risk Assessment
- Vic Forests will tell you that they have risk assessment processes. In preparing a matrix of risk assessment outcomes, the factors constituting risk are prepared to cater for potential damaging consequences.
- In the Victorian Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), and the Murray Darling Basin Catchment Authority (MDBCA) – which covers four states from Queensland to South Australia – the greatest threat and the highest priority of risk, as being reduced streamflow caused by climate change.
The consequences of clear-fell logging poses the highest risk.
The IPCC has given us 12 years to prevent increased warming reaching 2 degrees Celsius before climate catastrophe tipping points are reached.
When do we start?
We must limit the rise in temperature immediately!
It is urgent!
Now we must implement PRECAUTIONARY PRACTICE to override risk management.
Risk Management just means business as usual.
How should we act?
- By cutting emissions, increasing sequestration and adapting to change
- Clear-fell logging of our native forests must cease now!
The evidence is now irrefutable. The science is complete. Only those who believe in fairies are still bleating about the lack of evidence!
How can we change?
- If we do nothing the risks and costs of climate change, floods, coastal inundation, bushfire, droughts etc. will rise. According to the ‘Stern Review’, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year and forever, and If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP!
- Compare this to the cost of action to stem the increase in climate change risks.
- Action, strong and early far outweigh the economic cost of inaction.
- The Stern Report suggests the cost of acting would start at 0.1% each year.
- Some of the consequences of inaction impact upon agriculture and tourism.
A 2008 report by Dr. Ben Preston CSIRO and Dr. Roger Jones from the Aust. Business Round Table (‘Climate Change Impacts on Australia and the Benefits of Early Action to Reduce Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions’) suggest:
- Australian GDP would fall by around $750 million if irrigation allocations were reduced by 20% due to reduced river flows. Say no more! Dead fish!
- The $1.5 billion tourism industry based at the Great Barrier Reef would be threatened. A 2-3% temperature rise would kill and bleach 97% of the reef.
- The $17 billion livestock export trade would face risk from increased heat stress and decreased carrying capacity.
This couldn’t happen, could it?
According to the ‘Stern Review’, the estimate is that it could cost 4-16% of Global GDP by 2100.
The time for individuals to act, is upon us. Our political processes have failed!
Business are now factoring in climate change, however at a disadvantage to individuals as they are required to protect profits.
The younger generation are smart as they are tired of the spin coming from the mouths of our politicians and business leaders. They are prepared to disrupt the status quo in their own unique ways.
In a Australian Childhood Foundation survey of young people aged between 10-14 years back in 2007, results showed
- 52% are worried about not having enough water in the future.
- 44% are worried about future impact of climate change.
- 43% are worried about air and water pollution.
- 27% believe the world will end in their lifetime.
- 25% of children worry that the world will end before they get older
They want to know what to do.
Here is a start.
Educate yourself and learn about the issues.
- Use evidence. Peer reviewed Science
- Use a consistent voice. We are in the middle of climate change. It is NOW!
- Speak up at meetings
- Contact and join groups
- Don’t play the blame game. Seek outcomes.
- Use simple demonstrations of concepts
- Be a leader as well as a member
- Use the technology to stay informed and to inform.
- Start a blog, a short film on You tube, the connectedness of the internet and social media platforms.
Above all else. Take ownership! After-all, it’s your World!