Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bare Nosed Wombats Not Protected All Over Victoria........

It beggars belief, but the bare nosed wombats, before white settlement called the "common" wombats are no longer such or protected all over Victoria. Endless entreaties to do so and the reasons they should be protected are not endorsed or possibly understood by the Victoria Government or their environmental arm.

So many parishes where there is no protection for wombats

So letters to the DELWP have not produced any reason why the protection of the bare nosed wombats in some parishes is in force, but not in others? It appears a very hodge podge legislation, and no explanation forthcoming?

There is a paper: REVIEW: Is the loss of Australian digging mammals contributing to a deterioration in ecosystem function? Mammal Review ISSN 0305-1838 That clearly shows how important digging mammals and by their actions, probably reptiles and insects, are to the continued fertility level as it is, and increase if we allow enough of these little diggers to survive.

You don't need to be a university graduate to know that wombats of all kinds and digging animals have been part of the shaping of our landscape. The landscape most of us enjoy when we leave the suburbs and cities and attempt to salve our souls and rescue our sanity. But it seems to be forgotten that they have a role to play still.

Farming of every kind needs so much expensive input, that farmers are screaming about lower profits yields and production of every kind. The consumer is supposed to pay for these increases in costs that could be avoided. Hard pans are a result of shallow ploughing and the Yeoman deep ripping is no substitute for the wombat and other digging and earth disturbing animals that come at little if any real cost.

It's well known that many property owners kill wombats because they really can't see beyond the hole in the ground, to all the benefits it bestows to their little fiefdoms and our world.

From the paper above:

Digging mammals therefore create a range of disturbances in the form of nose pokes, scratchings, shallow to deep digs, long bulldozing tracts and complex subterranean burrows (Eldridge & Mensinga 2007). They manipulate the substrate and create a variety of disturbances that affect resource availability, contributing to land, soil and water quality (Martin 2003). In this review, we investigate how the loss of Australian
[end quote]

It's beyond the grasp of the Victorian government to see the value of bare nosed wombats, but one hopes at sometime in the future the penny will drop. Yeah, that's likely to happen.

During the time that Gavin Jennings had control of the environment and Climate Change portfolio, there was to be a review of the status of the Bare Nosed Wombat [aka the Common Wombat]. But it was never implemented. One wonders why this was? It was such an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of these little diggers and others that helped to spread soil over leaf and bark litter in the forest and reduce the occasion and intensity of forest fires.

But there was an overstated consideration for farmers and landholders upset when a couple of wombats came onto their property. The damage that wombats were supposed to have caused was also overstated and laced with hyperbole.

So we are currently in this situation and one could assume that there will not be a review in the near future. No point in mentioning that the non lethal methods of excluding any animal is supposed to be the first considered. It's just too easy to reach for a firearm.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ban Fuel Reduction Burns

Be Constructive Rather Than Destructive

Fuel reduction burn philosophy is flawed in so many ways that it's impossible to name them all.

This method of attempting fire control destroys the values that make Australia what it is and for what it's known. One of these is the natural landscape, beauty and the way it has been crafted by all the elements of the natural world. Fire being one of these.

Fire, as has been pointed out in just about every paper ever written about its danger, is a part of Australia just like the wildlife which we love, or most of us love and which is part of our heritage and identity. It's not rational to expect to live without fire in Australia, and it's irrational to believe that by lighting fires we are in some way protecting ourselves from them. It's just plain crazy to think that lighting fires in the forest, far from population centres will give us either, protection or safety, from fires in the areas where we live.

So we have to think about the area where we actually live and adjacent to it if we want to be destroyers or creators. The former is negativity at it's worse and that's fuel reduction burning. Torch everything that will burn. There is no guarantee if, or even when a fire might get close to a population centre or an individual dwelling. We would have to light the fire and burn everything each spring and hope after the fuel reduction or elimination fire, that growth through the rest of spring and summer will be limited. That during early summer, grass will not go brown and tinder dry, or the trees drop more leaves and bark and nothing that could be described as fire fuel will be blown in by the wind. That's not rational or clever.

To understand and respect fire is good. But people have an irrational fear of fire, because they are indoctrinated by society that the government will look after and keep them safe and that's never going to happen. This foolishness, and dependence on it that government loves. Keeps the population tractable and stops individuals from going out and doing their own thing, looking after themselves to some degree.

To put up a fire break of fire retardant plants and instead of using water to put out fire is rational and constructive. Then using the water to keep a verge green to prevent fire from entering certain areas is sensible. If the money used to put out fires and do fuel reduction burning should be spent, because government or other agencies which to encourage employment. Then it can be deployed on employment for people to keep the fire verges and buffers both green and clear of debris that might allow fires to take hold during the summer months. Though in actuality this should be left to each individual householder where they are capable and a percentage of the water used billed to the government or reimbursed by the government.

Green fire breaks all year round are the way to ensure fires never reach the population centres or individual properties of residents. There are tree species of various kinds that are well adapted to the protection of properties from fires and few have been utilised for this purpose. Tagasaste is one, but many tree species that can be made into fire retardant hedgerows exist.

Tagasaste has many benefits as well as the attribute of protecting against fire. Some of these are nitrogen fixing, hard coated seed that cracks open ready to take advantage of moisture even after their parents are destroyed by it. Fodder for stock if pruned or cut back. etc., etc.. Tagasaste is just one of the many trees that are natures buffer against fire.

Others can be formed to be a more effective fire retardant. Hedgerows of coppiced oaks to ensure they grow only to a medium height and remain sappy, filled with moisture to retard fire. They will probably be killed by what they a protecting property and people from should a very hot fire attack them, but they can be replanted. Experimentation would enhance the result.

More About Fire Retardant Hedgerows