More on the Burning Question

(Weekly Times)

Blogging by definition is amateur journalism. As a consequence today’s news or commentary is tomorrow’s history. But as many readers will know history is very important to me and I have resisted the suggestion that previous blogs be rewritten, condensed or even removed from my website, in order to make it more suitable for the search engines. I was reminded of this recently when a friend asked whether I had written anything on fuel reduction burning and other aspects of the logging industry.

A google search brought up one or two of the more recent pieces on this subject but the remainder – I later discovered more than a dozen – stayed buried. Consequently I searched my own blog archives and came up with most of the others. Some of the pieces may be slightly dated but generally speaking they remain topical today. There also remains a certain amount of repetition – a general feature of both journalism and politics. What follows is a brief summary of some of these not so easily found articles.

One of the first I found was a blog on Aboriginal burning entitled Firestick Farming Controlled Burns and Climate Change which looked at the propaganda that promoted widespread controlled burns. This was because it was supposedly a practice widespread in Gippsland and across Australia before the arrival of Europeans. The evidence, at least for Gippsland, suggests otherwise.

Other blogs more specific to the burning practice included Controlled Burns, Asset Protection and Climate Change which highlighted the work of Dr David Cheal and came to the conclusion that these burns “in terms of asset protection, [were] useless and a waste of resources” and that logging and burning practices should be phased out as quickly as possible.

Dr Cheal was the keynote speaker at the Burning Issue symposium chaired by Deb Foskey, to which I made a small contribution. This in turn was based on earlier research blogged as Logging Coupe Burns and Greenhouse Gas Emissions which looked in some detail at how disastrous the practice of clearfell logging and associated burning was for climate change. It was clear then that the loggers and the bureaucrats had little idea of the science of climate inertia, forests as a carbon store and other aspects of climate change and the climate emergency.

This was highlighted by the recent wholesale removal of trees along roads near Cape Conran and the Mitchell River National Park. The only so-called assets these planned burns are protecting are logging coupes and the whole ‘burning’ process is abused and misdirected. Obviously many bureaucrats and politicians need to be educated on climate change and the climate emergency. When they have some knowledge, even an inkling of possible future climate disasters, the logging economy will disappear and be replaced by the forest protection and fire prevention.