The following story seeks to document the very
real impacts of bushfires on habitat trees, and
subsequent impact on hollow-dependent wildlife,
and biodiversity generally.
The area selected for this story is located in the
Clarence Valley District of Northern NSW, and is
typical of many privately owned properties along
Australia's eastern fringes. It has been
logged for the best part of a century, more
heavily in recent times. The property
owner would probably claim this was
'selective' logging, the selectivity being
limited to those species which are suitable
for saw logs and splitting for fence posts.
As a result, any tree of commercial value
such as Blackbutt, Forest Red Gum, and
Bloodwoods, have been systemically
removed leaving a landscape of saplings
and acacia scrub interspersed with a
scattering of old-growth trees that were
too old for timber production when the
first loggers began work here in the early
years of the 20
th
century.
One of the consequences of over-logging
is the resultant growth of understorey,
Wattle, Blady Grass, and Bracken Fern
all of which are highly combustible,
making it virtually impossible to conduct
a low intensity burn even in the cooler
winter months.
With each successive fire, these once
magnificent old trees that have weathered
the elements for more than 200 years, are
gradually succumbing until soon none
will remain.
In the photographs that follow, I draw your attention to the surrounding
vegetation, and note the dearth of anything that resembles a mature tree.
THE RAVAGES OF BUSHFIRE
To burn or not to burn