Carbon-Neutral Birding

To: Greg <>
Subject: Carbon-Neutral Birding
From: Ian May <>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2007 14:34:10 +1000
g,Day all

Thank you Greg. Perhaps this subject should be called "carbon neutral trees". Its couls be eneough to make me a sceptic when considering the final benefit to greenhouse from trees after prescribed burning and bushfires have ravaged the forest? Two weeks ago, "low intensity???" prescribed burning at Douglas Apply National Park sent high intensity smoke clouds that were probably visible from New Zealand. Or perhaps National Park fire management is greenhouse exempt? Some good news though. Spotted Quail-Thrush and Olive Whistlers were observed last week in an area south of Scamander Tasmania that had been ravaged by the East Coast bushfires in December last year.


Ian May

St Helens, Tasmania

Greg wrote:

Alan raises the issue of tree planting as a part of the solution to the greenhouse effect and rightly raises some concerns about tree planting per se. Ever since Bob Hawke launched the 'one billion trees' programme tree planting has been seen as the solution to all of the world's problems. Unfortunately tree planting can cause more problems than it solves. The proliferation of monocultures of pine or various eucalypt species has negative impacts on the environment. Theses plantations are usually approved on 'cleared land'. This cleared land often has scattered old growth trees of great significance to birds, mammals and reptiles. They are in the way so get the chop. Then the site is nuked with herbicides, sometimes broad scale from a helicopter, and then the trees are planted. The species are usually not native to the region or if they are the provenance is not right. If you plant Forest Red Gums from another area the genetic make up would be different to that of the locals. Cross pollination of plantation trees with remnant native trees is never considered as a threat, but it is.

Now to greenhouse - all of these plantations are going to sequester carbon and therefore will help with reducing the greenhouse effect - WRONG - unless the plantations are never harvested. Harvesting and processing produces large amounts of carbon so any benefits of carbon storage are lost at the harvest and processing stages. If carbon trading is to be implemented then credits should only be given to landowners who protect old growth forest, regenerate natural vegetation or plant trees in an ecologically sustainable way that will never be harvested.

Timber plantations are necessary to take the pressure of native forests (and their birds) but they don't deserve, and shouldn't receive, greenhouse credits.

All birders (including twitchers) should consider all of their activities in light of the greenhouse effect (as should every Australian) but people have to make up their own minds about how they will address their impact on the planet. Turning on each other only plays into the hands of those (particularly politicians) who love to divide and rule.

Greg Clancy

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