By John Edwards
15
th
February 2010
Green policies, and environmentalists in particular, have long copped abuse from
extreme right-wing (redneck) elements across the world, blaming them directly for
the loss of life caused by wildfires. Now, the boot has been transferred to the other
foot. According to an intrnational team of researchers, commercial logging of moist
native forests creates conditions that increase the severity and frequency of bushfires,
claiming that logging has shifted the composition of moist forests to resemble drier,
more fire prone ones.
The finding by Australian, Canadian and US researchers is based on a review of
previous studies and is published in the latest issue of the journal /Conservation
Letters/ <http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp.ref=1755-263x>.
Professor David Lindenmayer (Fenner School of the Environment and Society at the
Australian National University <http://www.anu.edu.au>) says: "The evidence from
rainforests is unequivocal, the evidence from the wet forests in North America is
unequivocal, and the evidence is starting to build in Australia as well. When you
mess with [native wet] forests they become more flammable."
This report confirms what we have long believed, excessive canopy reduction
through over-logging alters microclimatic conditions, which leads to increased
drying of understory vegetation and the forest floor. In some areas, such as Clouds
Creek, and more recently in Doubleduke State Forest, north of Grafton, we have
recorded areas where logging by Forests NSW has seen canopy reduction of more
than 70%. This level of logging can have a number of disastrous consequences, such
as the increased occurrence of Bell Miner Associated Dieback. Now increased fire
severity and frequency can be added to the list of negative outcomes.
Anyone interested in related stories can so at:
* High fire danger
<http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/10/29/2726587.htm>,
Science Online, 06 Nov 2009
* Hard stats shed light on bushfire risk
<http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/17/2600790.htm>,
Science Online, 21 Oct 2009
* Australian forests lock up most carbon
<http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/16/2599532.htm>,
Science Online, 20 Oct 2009
* *Map: *Australian National University 0200
<http://www.abc.net.au/science/maps/map.htm.lat=-
35.279854&long=149.1205&caption=Australian%20National%20University%200200>
The real contributer to wildfire exposed.
New research attributes blame to logging practices