birding-aus Land restoration (Was native plants etc)

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus Land restoration (Was native plants etc)
From: Ian Montgomery <>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 15:37:06 +1100

Don't get me wrong, I'm a keen conservationist and agree whole-heartedly
with most of what Nigel said.  I just wanted to challenge a couple of
sweeping statements and to encourage discussion on the choices we have for
land restoration or improvement from the point of view of conservation.
These two things aren't necessarily the same.  For example, if we create a
wetland habitat (where none existed before) to encourage endangered
species, by no stretch of the imagination is that restoration.

>2)     I would like an example of where and how revegetated land was better
>than its natural self... I can't think of any.

White terns started breeding on Lord Howe Island only after Norfolk Island
Pines were introduced.  That's an interesting dilemma, as the pines are a
pest.  Widespread development of (non-native) pine plantations in the
British Isles in the 1950 and 1960 benefitted many native species such as
Hen Harriers, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls and pine martens.

Basics of Evolution would
>suggest that the environment of an area is at its most harmonious at that
>point in time and is its 'hardiest'.

Evolution encourages successful species, including man, not, unfortunately,
harmonious ones.  Productive environments left undisturbed (eg climax
forest) have lower biodiversity than disturbed productive ones (disturbance
encourages succession).

>The problem I believe is that man's
>brain has evolved too fast relatively to the rest of the planet's species

You're probably right, but that's the fault of 'natural' evolution

>3)     Let's start with pre-European settlement and then worry about


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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