The land clearing issue is always emotive. Apart from
habitat loss, erosion and salinisation, the incursion by an ever increasing
diversity of weeds concerns me greatly.
A century ago clearing of many areas would mainly have
promoted regrowth of indigenous plants. Today expansive clearing in
Queensland is attended often by exotic pest plants such as prickly acacias,
Parkinsonia, Chinee Apple, Johnson Grass, Rubber Vine, Groundsel Bush,
Parthenium Weed, Mesquite, Mimosa, Sicklepod, Thornapple or Boxthorn, not to
mention those such as Lantana that are almost an accepted part of the
When asking graziers about access for birding I try to talk
about weeds and fire whenever possible. I am not sanguine about the
prospects for Queensland, as this is the home of the
But governmental regulation must not be accompanied by
depopulation. This has happened in national parks, where minimal staffing
sees little effective control of weeds and feral animals. Even the SEQ
forest agreement could backfire, as resources risk being diverted almost totally
to plantations in the long term. Oldgrowth forests will be left without
committed management because of economic imperatives.
Usually I tell graziers and other landowners how much I
appreciate their foresight when I find good birding habitat on their land.
I support their decisions that benefit birds, such as not clearing a watercourse
or a large remnant of vegetation. Many landowners have a Reader's Digest
or a fieldguide, where I have often ticked off the species seen during a
visit. In exceptional cases I have been right through the book, helping
the landowners to identify what has been encountered by them over the
This once led to an incident that is funny only in
hindsight. The grazier picked out the Grey Falcon and said he could show
it to us. We drove him all over his property. I suspect he was
simply checking his stock and fences at our expense.
PO Box 1246
Atherton Qld 4883