Rubicon- Snobs Creek and Climate Change
Climate change changes everything!
- Energy use, severity of storms, drought, bushfires, agriculture and water resources. Boards of Directors in industry and commerce must now factor in climate change. The insurance industry must now reassess risk as do planners, engineers and regulators.
- We must now reassess our water resources and catchments as the only source of supplies. How climate change will impact on availability of supply and how demand will be mett into the future, must be reassessed.
- Climate change will re-evaluate the resources and any usage or damage to the supply or quantity or quality must be part of the equation of costs and accounting practices.
- Clear-fell logging creates an immediate loss of 30% flow. It takes approximately 60 years before losses are neutralised and restoration of flows equivalent are achieved. This ongoing compounding loss of the source of our rivers is unconscionable and unsustainable.
- Carbon release to the atmosphere from the Litter layer, Humus layer and subsoil, adds to carbon release to the atmosphere, rather than capture and soil in soil carbon. Living vegetation likewise is a carbon sink and store converting carbon dioxide into cellulose and releasing oxygen by the process of photosynthesis.
Image courtesy of Macquarie Port Press
It remains only through the age old –natural process – of photosynthesis, that carbon is produced.
- Trash burning of windrows of heads and stumps and understory vegetation releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- The processing of saw logs has losses of 30% however sawlogs only represent 12% of the timber harvest. 88% of the harvest is for export or pulp mills, locally.
- Transportation utilising fossil fuels (Diesel & electricity). Economies of scale can only be achieved by Industrial scale clear-fell logging machinery that leaves the landscape bare after trash burning and liable to erosion, soil loss and depleted water resources.
- A ground-breaking study from The Australian National University (ANU)
- Forest soils need many decades to recover from fires and logging has found that forest soils need several decades to recover from bushfires and logging – much longer than previously thought.
- The research team collected 729 soil cores from 81 sites exposed to nine different disturbance histories in the Victorian Mountain Ash forests.
- These forests generate close to 100% of the water for the rapidly expanding population of Melbourne. They store large amounts of biomass carbon and support timber, pulpwood and tourism industries.
- This study lead by researcher Elle Bowd from the ANU and released on 22nd January 2019, found that forest soils recovered very slowly over many years from these events – up to 80 years following a bushfire and at least 30 years after logging.
- Her team’s findings contradicted previous research by Scientists who originally believed forests could recover within 10 to 15 years after bushfires or logging, but this new research showed forests needed much more time to recover.
- “Logging can expose the forest floor, compact soils, and alter soil structure, reducing vital soil nutrients. These declines are more severe in areas that have experienced multiple fires and logging.” (Quotes by Elle Bowd)
- Bushfires and logging robbed soils of important nutrients like phosphorus and nitrates, which are essential for plant growth, she said.
(for Media release go to: https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/forest-soils-need- many-decades-to-recover-from-fires-and-logging
- Vast areas of native forest are required to support the clear-felling model, and when practiced in the headwaters and catchments of our rivers, the losses are catastrophic!
- Soil and water loss are not factors that are evaluated in the economic equation of logging.
- The alternatives to clear-fell logging of native forest is a move toward Plantation timber harvesting. This move has already begun with over hectares of Plantation timber can supply both woodchip and structural timber. Degraded marginal farmland can be used to meet future demand.
Research % of land used for plantation harvest