Landclearing and birds

Subject: Landclearing and birds
From: Niels Poul Dreyer <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 20:15:51 +1000 (EST)
Hi Folks

I have followed the debate regarding listing Barking Owl as an vunerable
species in Victoria, because of past land clearing in that state.

I am living in the central coast of Qld where land clearing is occuring in a
ferocious pace of 400000 ha per year. Most of the land clearing is for
cattle grazing and pastoral improvement. Land clearing permits are issued by
the Department of Natural Resources on leasehold land according to clearing
guidelines. On freehold lænd clearing can proceed withou permit!
Stakeholders such as pastoralist has almost got their way when the
agreements on leashold were adopted. Very good grounds must be found to
reject a land clearing application. Only if a rare/threatened plant is found
on a lot the lessee is  reqired to develop a tree management plan to avoid
destroying particular plant. Most clearing guidelines recommend that between
20% and 50% of original habitat is retained depending on the type of
ecosystem. Only ecosystems which are classified as endangered must be
retained without clearing. This policy varies between regions. For example
blue gum on flat ground must not be cleared in Burnett destrict, but 80% can
be removed in Capricorn. In the long term this fragmentation will destroy
feeding grounds for honeyeaters. This is because migratory birds need many
plant species which provide continous food sources  in different places
during the year. Like the forests in Borneo large continous areas must be
retained to account for variations and seasonality of flowering trees. If
honeyeatewr and bats go extinct, the long term future of many trees are in
jeopardy as they do not get polinated. We may survive without birds but
definitly not without plants! The sixth extinction will also hit Australian
birds very hard. I would not be surprised if 50 to 100 or so species
disappear for good within the next 50 years.

The weakness of our society is too much emphasis is placed on the right of
the individual over the common good. More planning is needed. I am sure
enough land has been allocated to cows and we do not need to clear more land
to increase production of meat. For the sake of our heath we would be better
off with less. I would prefer the balance shift sharply the other way around!

Niels Dreyer
Niels Poul Dreyer
10/35-37 Denman Camp Road
Scarness, Qld 4655

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