birding-aus Land restoration (Was native plants etc)

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus Land restoration (Was native plants etc)
From: Ian Montgomery <>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 12:30:22 +1100

>The main point is that we have to, as a nation, try to restore as much land
>as possible to its pre settlement self.

This raises two questions:

1.  Why?
2.  What was its pre settlement self?

1. Why?  This is a value judgement that undisturbed land is always somehow
superior to _improved_ land.  Does it also mean that we can't manage land
to help endangered species?  I am not trying to be facetious or smart-alec,
here.  I am just suggesting that land management and restoration involve
complex decisions and the reconciliation of different views and values.

2.  Pre-European or Pre-Aboriginal settlement?  Not only do natural states
change (naturally) over time it is also quite difficult to define what a
natural state is.  Aboriginal land practices, particularly the use of fire,
had big impacts on the Australian landscape.  Do we want to go back to the
way things were in 1770, or would 60,000 years ago be better?

Best regards,  Ian
Dr Ian Montgomery, Marine Ecology, A11, University of Sydney, NSW 2006.
Ph: (+61-2) 9351 4786; Fax: 9351 6713; Home ph: 9818 4838.
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