Monday 30th of November 2020

the bare earth theory...

no worries...

IN A RECENT REPORT, entitled 'Tree Clearing: The Hidden crisis of animal welfare in Queensland', released by WWF Australia and the RSPCA Queensland, scientists estimate tree clearing in Queensland kills about 34 million native mammals, birds and reptiles each year.

This is an underestimate according to the report:

The enormous extent of suffering and death caused makes tree-clearing the single greatest animal welfare crisis in Queensland. Yet it is largely unmonitored and unstudied and neglected in wildlife policy and law.

Many animals die on the site of clearing. Some are crushed by machinery or falling trees. Others die more slowly from injuries, starvation and exposure. Others die as they flee from clearing in collisions with cars, fences or power lines, killed by predators or due to injuries or deprivation.

Tree-clearing: the hidden CRISIS of animal welfare in #Queensland#Australia via @wwfaustria

— Betty Lea (@Betty_Lea) September 7, 2017

Rates of clearing from 2010-2015 (the latest for which data are available) show that the annual destruction of bushland more than tripled: from 26,000 to 114,000 hectares of mature bushland and from 66,000 to 182,000 hectares of regrowth.

Nearly 300,000 hectares was cleared at last count in 2014-15.

Most tree-clearing in Queensland overlaps mapped habitats of threatened species. Despite this, most of it proceeds without any attempt to seek approval under threatened species laws. The enforcement of State and Federal nature and biodiversity conservation laws appears to have been minimal.

The weakening of controls over habitat destruction in Queensland together with recent similar changes in New South Wales have led to eastern Australia being listed as one of 11 global deforestation fronts. These are the areas which on current trends are predicted to account for 80% of all forest losses up to 2030. Australia is the only developed nation in this ignominious list.

The report makes a heartbreaking case for not only immediate protection of habitat but an urgent need for wildlife laws that ensure monitoring and enforcement are mandatory provisions. Thus far, there has been no response by the Palaszczuk or Turnbull governments. Not surprisingly, there has been almost no mainstream media coverage of this report.

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10,000 koalas per bulldozer...


Queensland has been rated as a "contemporary hot spot" for land clearing and is on par with places like Brazil, a new study has found.

The paper published today has found the parts of Queensland that have been cleared the most in the past, are also being cleared the most now.

Remote areas including the Cape York Peninsula are also being cleared.

Dr April Reside from the University of Queensland (UQ) said drastic changes are needed to save species and protect habitat.

"Land clearing in Queensland is the highest that it has been in the last 10 years," Dr Reside said.

"We have 95 threatened species of animal, 12 threatened species of plant that are impacted by land clearing."

Dr Reside said practices such as thinning, where up to 75 per cent of vegetation in an area can be cleared, is regulated by the landowner.

"It means that the mammals, the birds and the reptiles that are impacted by cat predation suddenly have nowhere to hide so they start to decline," Dr Reside said.

UQ researcher Dr Leonie Seabrook said Queensland had one of the highest land clearing emissions rates in Australia.

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and charitable tax deductions to the miners...

Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually on political lobbying for the interests of the fossil fuel sector. That investment serves the interests of a small amount of company shareholders in keeping a legacy industry alive, despite the availability of newer, clean technologies, at lower cost.

In the wake of these behind-the-scenes policy negotiations, the real and present impacts of climate change, such as bushfires, coastal flooding and reduced crop yields are left at the door of future generations to deal with.

As the expensive fees of industry associations like the Minerals Council of Australia are claimed as business expenses, the fossil fuel companies are then able to receive generous tax concessions – paid for from the public purse. That’s why the hypocrisy was palpable last week, when the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said in an address to the Minerals Council that the charitable status of environmental groups is against the interests of Australia.

So, when there are no rules limiting the power that big mining wields over politics, why are environmental scientists being attacked by the government?

Recently, the government instituted an inquiry into Australian charities, seeking to curb the work of charities working to protect the environment. The inquiry’s most concerning recommendation, which came from the Minerals Council itself, is that all environmental charities, no matter if they are focused on research or public education, should be forced to spend 25% of their resources for on-the-ground remediation work, such as tree planting and weed control. Environmental remediation has great value, but ultimately the policy change required to solve climate change will only happen through scientifically informed policy change that allows businesses and communities to do the heavy lifting.

The Climate Council is an independent organisation dedicated to public education on climate change. We want to keep doing what we’re good at – which is providing independent, accurate information to Australians across society; from emergency services to farmers, schools and businesses. For the government to demand that the Climate Council spend 25% of its time on remediation is nonsensical and undemocratic. When it comes to Australia staying in step with the global race to address climate change, planting a few trees just won’t cut it.

The government inquiry is a cynical attempt to hamper support for charities by reducing our ability to execute on our purpose. The Climate Council’s purpose is to accurately communicate information on climate change, giving Australia the chance to be on the front foot in responding to climate change. Our information assists fire fighters, health professionals and communities. It helps journalists to report more accurately in what is a debate often awash with misinformation. Importantly, it helps the wider community make sense of what is a complex and confusing issue.

An informed public is absolutely vital to a well-functioning democracy. The science is not the only consensus on the issue. Most Aussies are worried about what climate change means for their jobs, property and families, especially the youngsters that are now stepping up to power our economy.

For the government to adopt the mining lobby’s recommendation would damage the ability of organisations protecting the environment to work effectively – and therefore damage our environment itself. It would also set a dangerous precedent for the interference of vested interests into our government. For beyond the Climate Council a broad range of charities stand to be affected should the government give itself powers to hamper any community group that they deem to be in conflict with its worldview.

The logic of curtailing an organisation like Climate Council, which fills the major chasm in public information on climate change, is unscientific and undemocratic.

Despite what we hear about the post-truth, fake news world in which we now live, the Australian public still values independent experts. When we go to the doctor, or fly in an aeroplane, we place our trust in the hands of qualified experts. Equally, for Australia to make sound decisions on our changing world, we expect to be advised by experts that operate independently of vested interests.

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Tim Flannery wrote The Future Eaters

the bulldozer is king...


Australia is home to more than one million species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 85% of the continent's flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds and 89% of inshore, temperate-zone fish are endemic – that is, they are only found in Australia.

Over the 200 years since European settlement, extensive clearing of native vegetation has removed, changed or fragmented habitats. Human activity and natural events such as fire, drought and flood continue to change Australia's ecology. Such change affects the interactions within ecological communities, and can reduce their diversity and threaten the survival of many native species.

Since settlement, hundreds of species have become extinct in Australia, including at least 50 bird and mammal, 4 frog and more than 60 plant species. It is likely that other species have disappeared too, without our knowledge. Many other species are considered to be threatened and are listed under Australian Government legislation as endangered or vulnerable. More than 310 species of native animals and over 1180 species of native plants are at risk of disappearing forever.

Threatened ecological communities

An ecological community is an integrated assembly of native species that inhabits a particular area in nature. Species within such communities interact and depend on each other – for example, for food or shelter.

Australian Government legislation allows for the listing of ecological communities as threatened. This is the first step to promoting their recovery under Australian Government law, supported by the preparation of recovery plans and threat abatement plans.

Examples of endangered ecological communities are the grassy white box woodlands and the natural temperate grassland of the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; the Buloke woodlands of the Riverina and Murray-Darling depression bioregions; the brigalow belt in south-eastern Queensland; and the critically endangered swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia.

Why conserve species and ecological communities?

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Why conserve species and ecological communities?


Good question... ALL GOVERNMENTS in Australia (Federal and State) could not care less about "ecological communities" but will pay lip service "under strict environmental guidelines" to allow more mining and further destruction.

The bulldozer is king...



hollow logs...

When a Western Australian man dragged a hollow log on to the roof of his farmhouse and strapped it to the chimney with old fencing wire, he hoped endangered cockatoos would come home to roost.

Five years later, the unusual decision is improving the survival odds of the native Carnaby's cockatoo which faces extinction.

The latest figures suggest Carnaby's numbers continue to decline in southern Western Australia due to habitat fragmentation caused by large-scale land clearing.

The naturally placid cockatoo now competes with corellas, galahs and even bees in the remaining eucalypt woodlands for nests in hollow trees which may take 100 years to form.

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killing the others...

The world's growing extinction threats are typically worst for the largest and smallest creatures, a finding that should temper conservation efforts, new research has found.

The study, published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined 27,647 vertebrate species based on body mass as assessed by the Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. About 17 per cent of all species, for which size data is available, are threatened with extinction.

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back in appalling adaniville...


India's former environment minister Jairam Ramesh is "absolutely appalled" by the Australian Government's approval of the Adani Group's massive coal mine in North Queensland, which he says will threaten the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, "a common heritage of mankind".

Key points:
  • Australian politicians argued India needs Adani coal to lift poor out of "energy poverty"
  • Indians "cannot afford" Adani coal, former Indian Ministry of Power head says
  • Adani Group says it is an "absolute and religiously law-abiding organisation"


Mr Ramesh, an elder statesman of India's opposition Congress Party, also said the Federal Government and Queensland Government have failed to do adequate due diligence on Adani Group's environmental and financial conduct in India before granting environmental approvals and mining licenses.

"Adani Group's track record on environmental management within the country [India] leaves a lot to be desired," Mr Ramesh told Four Corners.

"And if it leaves a lot to be desired domestically, there's no reason for me to believe that Adani would be a responsible environmental player globally."

Mr Ramesh said it was almost beyond belief that the Australian Government would look to provide concessional loans and other taxpayer support to facilitate Adani Group's coal mining project — because of the consequences for climate change of developing a giant new mine and opening an entire new coal basin.

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Australian politicians argued Adani needs Adani coal to lift poor Adani out of "energy poverty"...


stealing the land, again...

The Queensland government has extinguished native title over 1,385 hectares of Wangan and Jagalingou country for the proposed Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin - without any public announcement of the decision.

The decision could see Wangan and Jagalingou protesters forcibly removed by police from their traditional lands, including lands used for ceremonies.

W&J Council leader Adrian Burragubba, and a group of Wangan and Jagalingou representatives, had been calling on the government to rule out transferring their land, arguing they had never given their consent for Adani to occupy their country.

In a meeting with government officials Friday, seeking a halt on leases being issued for mine infrastructure, they learned the state government had instead granted Adani exclusive possession freehold title over large swathes of their lands on Thursday, including the area currently occupied for ceremonial purposes.

“We have been made trespassers on our own country,” Burragubba said. “Our ceremonial grounds, in place for a time of mourning for our lands as Adani begins its destructive processes, are now controlled by billionaire miner Adani.

“With insider knowledge that the deal was already done, Adani had engaged Queensland police and threatened us with trespass.”

To mine any land under a native title claim, a miner needs an Indigenous land use agreement, essentially a contract that allows the state to extinguish native title.

Adani has a ILUA over the land: five of the 12 native claimants have opposed it, but have lost successive legal challenges in court to prevent it. Seven, a majority, of the native title claimants support the Adani mine.

Burragubba and a group of supporters set up camp on the land ahead of its legal transfer to Adani. He said they will refuse to leave.

He said a notice received by the council said their country “is to be handed over to Adani on 3 August 2019”. The notice also says “Adani will request the assistance of police to remove Mr Burragubba and his supporters from the camp”.

Burragubba, whom Adani has bankrupted over costs from legal challenges, said his group would not abandon their protest nor quit their lands.

“We will never consent to these decisions and will maintain our defence of country,” he said. “We will be on our homelands to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land.”

In a statement, Adani said it had worked closely with the traditional owners of the proposed mine’s site since 2011 “to ensure the customs and wishes of Indigenous people are respected and supported”.

Adani has secured four separate ILUA’s with four traditional owner groups, including the Wangan and Jagalingou people.

“The ILUA vote for the Wangan and Jagalingou people held in 2016 saw 294 people vote in favour of the Carmichael project proceeding and one vote against,” a spokesperson said. “Adrian Burragubba has taken numerous legal actions against the Carmichael project and the courts have repeatedly said he has no case.”

Burragubba lost his final appeal in August.



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and not just in queensland...

Farmers in NSW are increasing the rate they clear land, taking advantage of looser native vegetation controls to more than double the pace of deforestation of the previous decade.

The state lost 60,800 hectares

– or about 200 times the size of Sydney’s CBD – of woody vegetation in 2018, up from 58,000 hectares the previous year, government data shows. Of that, about half was the result of agriculture, with forestry and infrastructure accounting for the remainder in both years.

The Berejiklian government replaced vegetation laws in August 2017, prompting a surge in land clearing by farmers. The 29,400 hectares cleared in 2018 was up about 8 per cent on 2017 but more than twice the 12,300 hectares removed on average during 2009-17.

Only about one-fifth of the 2018 total land cover change was formally authorised. Some 73 per cent was listed as ‘‘unexplained’’, although some of that would have been lawful clearing that did not require approval, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said.

The North-West local land service region had the largest increase in ‘‘unexplained’’ clearing. While authorised clearing fell in all of 2018 compared with the August-December 2017 period, the level of ‘‘unexplained’’ land cover change rose sixfold to more than 22,300 hectares.

The Central-West region also experienced a rapid jump, with authorised land clearing almost tripling in 2018 compared to the first five months after laws changed in August 2017, to 6467 hectares. ‘‘Unexplained’’ clearing also surged almost sixfold to 14,088 hectares.

Despite the increase in clearing, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the state’s farmers were ‘‘the best environmental stewards we have in NSW – their businesses depend on a sustainable environment’’.

‘‘The vast majority of native vegetation cleared in NSW are invasive native species,’’ Mr Marshall said. ‘‘These species are largely akin to weeds, which harm biodiversity by outcompeting other more natural forms of vegetation.’’

However, independent NSW MP Justin Field said the latest data was ‘‘yet another report showing the NSW National Party’s rampant deforestation program that has occurred as a result of their failed biodiversity and land clearing reform’’.

‘‘There is little wonder we face the extinction of the koala in NSW if this level of deforestation is being allowed under the Berejiklian government,’’ Mr Field said, noting Tuesday’s release of a parliamentary inquiry report that found the marsupial was on track to disappear in the wild in the state well before 2050.

He noted that a secret report by the Natural Resources Commission this year labelled NSW’s land-clearing laws as a ‘‘state-wide risk to biodiversity’’ with record deforestation levels.

The Wilderness Society’s Glenn Walker said a ‘‘damning’’ federal Auditor-General report released last week revealed weakened NSW laws meant farmers were ‘‘at grave risk of contravening the national environment laws ... supposed to protect threatened species and important natural places’’.

Mr Field called for the twoyear statute of limitations on prosecutions for illegal land clearing to be suspended ‘‘until the public can be reassured that investigations and enforcement is able to proceed unhindered’’.

‘‘It would be too easy for those landholders who have done the wrong thing to try to drag out the investigation process,’’ he added.



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