birding-aus Birding in the bush

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus Birding in the bush
From: "Glenn Holmes" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 19:08:04 +1000
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 landscape.
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 individualist. 
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 years.
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.
Glenn Holmes
PO Box 1246
Atherton Qld 4883
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