Recently we have had news that the Dept of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) is having a much greater role in which trees are being removed from roadsides and remnant habitat. Trees are now being assessed individually to determine if they are structurally sound and they are using infrared scanners to assess hot spots & damage with tree trunks. This is very pleasing news. Perhaps people acted hastily initially, clearing trees based on reaction to the sheer extent of this disaster. It appears that once the immediate threat eased slightly, there was time for a more careful approach.
At this stage, we have had no luck getting our word out to larger campaign groups, but this may not be all negative given the above information. It is pleasing to read articles such as those made by the ACF http://www.acfonline.org.au/articles/news.asp?news_id=2166&c=53936#10
and the comments of former forester Andrew Campbell http://www.triplehelix.com.au/documents/ThoughtsontheVictorianBushfires_000.pdf
I encourage you to read these and forward the links to those convinced that “greenies” and scientists are all to blame for these fires. They are well worth the read, as is a recent letter in the Age from a bushfire survivor. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/letters/take-a-pause-to-sort-the-firewood-from-the-trees-20090225-8hv4.html
At the moment, in terms of this group’s activity, we are adopting a waiting and watching approach. A submission is being made to the Royal Commission by my friend (the scientist who fought and survived the fires) along with many other experts and survivors. We are keen to hear the commission’s findings. Our primary concern at present is the Brumby government’s position on which department will oversee native vegetation clearing and a change in clearing laws. The Department of Planning and Community Development cannot be allowed to take control of this in its current format. This is not just a Victorian issue. It appears SA is also reviewing native vegetation clearing laws and other fire prone states are likely to follow. There is so little native vegetation left. We need ensure a balance is found between what is needed for public safety and the needs of the environment, not just a knee jerk reaction to these devastating fires.
So for now, stay informed, educate others and keep the welfare of our amazing fauna and flora foremost in your minds.
Thanks for caring.