By Viv Forbes
Green extremists plan to convert Australia into “tree heaven”. They will bully this through, no matter what the cost.
Huge areas of forest are already converted to “locked-up-land” – national parks, world heritage areas, Kyoto protected trees, remnant vegetation, aboriginal reserves, wildlife habitat and corridors etc. Many lock-ups are so large and so poorly managed that they have become extreme bushfire hazards and a refuge for wild dogs, cats, goats, camels, pigs, lantana, groundsel and other weeds and pests.
Australia Importing Timber
Now Australia faces a shortage of timber for farms, industry, homes and furniture. While our vast forests lie idle or burnt, we import timber.
Aboriginals and early settlers used forest timbers without asking permission from anyone.
Aboriginals used timber and bark for warmth, cooking, weapons, shields, and gunyahs.
Settlers used bark, dead timber, slabs and logs in open fires, stoves, boilers, huts, sheds and bridges. Then with axes, saws, mauls and wedges they made split posts, rails and strainers for yards and fences. Then foresters and sawmills produced poles for power and telephone, sleepers for railways and sawn timber to build towns and cities.
Aboriginal Fire Management.
Aboriginals managed the whole landscape with fire – they burnt grasslands and forests at irregular but frequent intervals. They lit fires at any time and for many reasons – grassland regeneration, wildlife hunting, tribal warfare, signalling and fire stick maintenance. There were no burning permits or vegetation protection orders, no central plans and no fires were extinguished or mopped up. Once a fire was lit, it ran its natural course until it ran into a previously burnt area, or rain put it out.
Aboriginal fires were augmented by lightning strikes, and no one tried to put them out either. Fires were observed day and night by early explorers such as James Cook who recorded in his log in 1770:
“.. a point or headland, on which were fires that Caused a great Quantity of smook, which occasioned my giving it the name of Smooky Cape.”
Squatter Fire Management
As Australia became more settled, squatters needed to protect fire-vulnerable fences, farm animals, crops, machinery and homesteads as well as neighbours and towns. They soon learned to use fire with more care and planning. They used roads and firebreaks, took account of expected conditions for temperature, wind and vegetation, and tried to collaborate with neighbours. They aimed for annual cool-season burns. And when lightning, vandals or careless neighbours lit dangerous fires at the wrong time or place, they fought fire with fire – using back-burns to protect homesteads and other infrastructure. Squatter fire management was superior to aboriginal management for a settled Australia, but both involved the deliberate and skilled use of fire.
Management by Foresters.
Then came the foresters with the motivation, equipment and knowledge to protect their forests, sawmills, neighbours, equipment and villages from summer wildfires. The sale of timber products funded active full-time forest management. Foresters were also effective fire-fighters – they made and maintained roads and tracks, built and manned fire lookouts, managed woody weeds and undertook fuel reduction burning.
Green Forest Management.
But Australian foresters have been forced out of most Australian forests which are now in the hands of green zealots.
The new forest policy is – “control everything, debate endlessly, allow nothing and do nothing. Then, when everything burns, blame “climate change”, call another enquiry and ignore the findings.”
Under green forest management, new roads are banned, old roads and fire trails are closed and bridges are allowed to fall into disrepair. Dead timber and weeds are allowed to accumulate, and water catchments are choked with trees and lantana. Graziers are locked-out and remedial action is constipated by never-ending bushfire royal commissions, green-black corroborees, urban activists and federal, state and local bureaucracies. Then, when flames are leaping through the tree-tops, money and water are wasted on flashy water bombers. As a result, too many forests, animals, farms and houses go up in smoke.
Australia’s flora and fauna evolved to survive and thrive in the grasslands and open forests created in “the Land of Smoke”. They were not threatened by the many small fires of aboriginals or squatters. But the infrequent Mega-fires created by Green Policies in Locked-up-Land are a lethal threat to all forest dwellers and their neighbouring farms and towns. It is time to open the sawmills, unlock the gates and roads and put foresters back into the forests.
Carbon Capture in Logged Timber
Even climate crusaders should support these reforms. Logging will boost carbon capture as old slow-growing trees are replaced by vigorous new trees. Fewer trees will be burnt in wild-fires, thus minimising the release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Harvested timber will store carbon in long-life houses, fences, bridges, power poles and furniture, while tree tops and trimmings will produce mulch, paper and cardboard. Renewable and recyclable timber can replace much construction steel smelted with the coal that greens detest.
Forest Mismanagement causes Wildfires.
Neither climate change nor wild weather causes wildfires. The real cause is the growing invasion of flammable bush into grasslands and the unnatural suppression of the cleansing effects of frequent small fires. If small fires are continually suppressed, mega-fires will inevitably destroy the forests and the surrounding areas every decade or so.
Forestry will improve bushfire protection as foresters clear roads, add tracks, clean up flammable undergrowth, reduce fuel loads, maintain the equipment and train workers to locate and isolate any fire outbreaks.
An Inferno of Incompetence and Obfuscation:
Maps of indigenous Australia:
National Parks Australia:
Australia tied to Imported Timber:
The Red and the Green – China’s useful idiots:
Viv Forbes has science and financial qualifications, and a life-time of experience in the Australian bush. He was a member of a local bush fire brigade for 23 years and he and his wife have watched, lit and fought many bush and grass fires.