Showing posts with label forests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forests. Show all posts

Friday, 9 February 2018

Falling biodiversity, degradation of productive rural land, intensification of coastal & city development, and the threat of climate change require Australia to produce blueprint for a new generation of environment laws


“The next generation of environmental laws will need to recognise explicitly the role of humanity as a trustee of the environment and its common resources, requiring both care and engagement on behalf of future generations.”  [APEEL, Blueprint for the Next Generation of Environmental Law, August 2017]

The Guardian, 6 February 2018:
Environmental lawyers and academics have called for a comprehensive rethink on how Australia's natural landscapes are protected, warning that short-term politics is infecting decision-making and suggesting that the public be given a greater say on development plans.
The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law has launched a blueprint for a new generation of environment laws and the creation of independent agencies with the power and authority to ensure they are enforced. The panel of 14 senior legal figures says this is motivated by the need to systematically address ecological challenges including falling biodiversity, the degradation of productive rural land, the intensification of coastal and city development and the threat of climate change.
Murray Wilcox QC, a former federal court judge, said the blueprint was a serious attempt to improve a system that was shutting the public out of the decision-making process and failing to properly assess the impact of large-scale development proposals.
"We found the standard of management of the environment is poor because everything is made into a political issue," Wilcox said. "Nothing happens until it becomes desperate.
"We need a non-political body of significant prestige to report on what is happening and have the discretion to act."
The legal review, developed over several years and quietly released in 2017, resulted in 57 recommendations. It was suggested by the Places You Love alliance, a collection of about 40 environmental groups that was created to counter a failed bid to set up a "one-stop shop" for environmental approvals by leaving it to the states. The panel undertook the work on the understanding it would be independent and not a piece of activism.
Review report can be found here.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC): “The reality is the hardwood native forest industry on the North Coast is in long term decline following the overharvesting of our native forests to meet over commitments in wood supply to North Coast sawmills"


Guardian News, Nambucca Valley Conservation Association, 29 January 2018:

Melinda Pavey's  recent comments on forestry issues  frequently begin with phrases like  " let's consider reality" or "let's listen to the science". 
Unfortunately she appears to do neither according to the Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC) and the Nambucca Valley Conservation Association. 
"The reality is the hardwood native forest industry on the North Coast is in long term decline following the overharvesting of our native forests to meet over commitments in wood supply to North Coast sawmills . In response the industry  is seeking  to intensify harvesting to convert remaining available forests into highly flammable matchstick farms, harvested  intensely  by machines  when very young with much of the outputs burnt in 3 biomass plants proposed for Grafton, Kempsey and Taree," BEC spokesperson Ashley Love said.
"The authoritative document for the North Coast forests is the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for North East NSW.  It is one of nine regional forest agreements covering the majority of the forested regions of Australia. 
"The reality and the data shows that  North Coast  forests  have the worst representations of forests in conservation reserves of any of the nine regional forest agreement regions throughout Australia.
The forestry industry is seeking to intensify harvesting to convert remaining available forests into highly flammable matchstick farms
Ashley Love, Bellingen Environment Centre
"Rather than a ratio of conservation reserves to harvestable forest of 6:1 as Ms Pavey claims, the RFA  reveals a ratio of conservation reserves to total forest area of 1:3.
"Admittedly, not all the forests are harvestable and not all the reserves are covered in forest, so Ms Pavey must be cautious with figures which she uses."
Mr Love said Ms Pavey's claim that recent field survey work had found high koala occupancy in state forests did not have a broad scientific consensus as "the methodology used for the assessment was largely based on the results from placement of limited numbers of sound recording devices in the field – a very imprecise way of assessing koala populations".
"Her claim that harvested areas of forest regenerate is contradicted by the recent progress report of the RFAs which reports natural regeneration of  70 per cent over of areas harvested during the last 15 years. 
"We don't want to see 30 per cent of our forests lost each time they are harvested." 
"Ms Pavey's report of 27 timber mills between The Hunter and the Tweed indicates just how much the industry has declined – once there were hundreds of mills on the North Coast and thousands of employees in the timber industry.  Logging practices of cutting smaller and smaller trees have meant that the future sawlogs are not being left to grow on."
"She infers that 750 direct jobs in the timber industry are at risk by the establishment of the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) .  In so claiming, she is including in her estimate all the people employed in the industry between the Hunter and the Tweed Rivers and is including those working within plantations and private forest areas which are not included in the GKNP proposal."
NVCA president Paula Flack said that regardless of the National Party's continuous exaggeration of timber industry job numbers on the North Coast, they were dwarfed in comparison to the number of direct and indirect jobs which the GKNP would generate. 
"One recent study from Victoria indicated that one conservation reserve proposal for the Central Highlands forests would generate an additional 750 jobs," Ms Flack said.
"The establishment of national parks on public land and marine parks at sea is a global phenomenon and one of the universal responses to the increasing recognition of the need to protect and, in many cases, restore our natural environments. 
"Unfortunately our current Liberal National Party political leaders are unwilling see the wider environmental, social and economic benefits of the Great Koala National Park and would rather ignore the facts and science by swimming against the tide." 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government taking the Norther Rivers bushfire risk level seriously?


The NSW Nationals Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) manages more than 870 national parks and reserves totalling over 7 million hectares.

With 22 per cent of the Clarence Valley covered by heavily timbered national parks and the entire NSW Northern Rivers region having 10 national parks, at least 9 nature reserves and 2 state forests, the risk of bushfires has always been high.

With climate change raising the fire risk and the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government stripping the NWPS of personnel and funding, many local residents are beginning to worry.


Monday, 9 October 2017

NSW North East Forest Alliance telling it like it is........




Friday, 15 September 2017

Australian governments continue to trip over their own hypocrisy


Crikey.com.au, 4 September 2017:

The forests of the Amazon basin are often referred to as the lungs of the Earth, nurturing life through rich, tropical biodiversity. Although often overlooked, it’s equally fitting to consider the jungles of the Asia-Pacific as the Earth’s heart. After all, they contain 20% of the world’s plant and animal species, and by some measurements make up six of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Australia adds to the variety, with its wealth of native vegetation. Each one of these areas is unique and plays an integral part in the world’s interrelated ecological systems.

The positive news is that the international community recognises them as such. Last month marks the one-year anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Brunei-Darussalam, an initiative set up in 2014 to discuss the alarming rate of deforestation in the region.
In the last five years, Indonesia has overtaken Brazil to become the greatest forest-clearing nation in the world. South-east Asia more broadly has lost almost 15% of its forests over the last 15 years. Representing the Turnbull government at the summit, then-newly promoted Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg himself recognised the significance of these figures and declared that Australia was “committed” to rainforest protection throughout the Asia-Pacific.
A year on, Australia has appeared to take steps to support its Asian neighbours, such as contributing funding to assist in ending illegal logging. However, it is interesting to note that while the government seems to portray itself as one of the chief proponents in curbing international deforestation, land clearing remains hugely significant in Australia. In actual fact, the east coast of the continent is considered one of the worst deforestation areas in the world today.
http://www.wwf.org.au/news/news/2017/tree-clearing-causing-queenslands-greatest-animal-welfare-crisis#gs.lfpuVWc

Take a bow, the Turnbull Coalition Government, NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government, Victorian Andrews Coalition Government, Queensland Palaszczuk Labor Government and Tasmanian Hodgman Coalition Government – you are making Australia famous for all the wrong reasons. 

The Guardian, 7 September 2017:

Australia is rapidly losing its world-famous biodiversity. More than 90 species have gone extinct since European colonisation (including three in just the past decade) and more than 1,700 species are now formally recognised as being in danger of extinction.

Despite the pride many Australians feel in our unique natural heritage (and the billions of dollars made from nature-based tourism), the amount of federal funding for biodiversity conservation has dropped by 37% since 2013.

If a local industry or public institution experienced such a drastic funding cut, the people affected would petition their local representatives and the issue would be raised in parliament as a matter of local or national importance.

Threatened species cannot of course lobby government. But all threatened species on the land have at least one elected official who should take responsibility for them.

Threatened species as local constituents

A member of parliament’s primary job, besides being a party member and parliamentarian, is to speak up for local interests. Data from the Species of National Environmental Significance shows that every federal electorate contains at least one threatened species, so every single federally elected politician has a role to play in abating species extinction.

We’ve used that data to create a map that shows the number of threatened species in each federal electorate, along with details of the local MP and their party. It’s obvious from a glance that a handful of electorates contain most of Australia’s threatened species.


If you live in these electorates it's time to shame and name your MP at every opportunity.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

TURNBULL MUST PROTECT TARKINE HERITAGE


“The Australian Heritage Council found the Tarkine in north-west Tasmania of outstanding national heritage significance.”
[Australian Government, Dept. of Environment and Energy, Australian Heritage Council, National Heritage Assessment, The Tarkine]


Bob Brown Foundation, Media Release, 8 September 2017:

TURNBULL MUST PROTECT TARKINE HERITAGE - BROWN

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must reject the Hodgman government's request to open off-road vehicle (ORV) access to the Tarkine's heritage-rich west coast, Bob Brown said tonight. The Hodgman request to Turnbull comes after the Federal Court ruled the state must get federal permission to open tracks in the area.

"Premier Hodgman's Braddon spokesperson on the Tarkine, Joan Rylah, says it all when she told the media today that state government intentions would "reduce vandalism" in the sensitive area. "Ms Rylah is effectively agreeing that re-opening the Sandy Cape to Pieman Heads coast to ORVs will not stop vandalism and she is right," Brown said.

"Recent opinion polling shows that most Tasmanians think the Tarkine's fragile coastal environment and extraordinary Aboriginal heritage sites should be off-limits to the small fraction of ORV owners who want to invade the area. We will release that polling tomorrow."

"It is now up to the Turnbull government to protect this National Heritage Area from destruction," Brown said.