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Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission

Planned Burns Review and Recommendations – admits failure – plans for more effective risk reduction

The Royal Commission recommended burns to over 5% of our natural landscape annually have finally been shown to be a waste of time, money and horrifically damaging to our biodiversity.
The recent review (link is external) of the burn targets used 12 criteria to measure how effective the blunt hectare-based target is compared to the proposed risk-reduction target. The hectare burns scored 13/48 (a serious flunk!) while a risk-based target scored 40/48. This is what EEG and thousands of others have been saying since day one. This excellent and informative summary originally published by Environment East Gippsland (EEG) here: http://www.eastgippsland.net.au/news/planned-burns-review-and-recommendations-%E2%80%93-admits-failure-%E2%80%93-plans-for-more-effective-risk See also AWPC fire and wildlife conference for more background.

Fuel reduction burning could spell the end of the line for the tiny Mallee Emu-Wren?

See also: 1 in 10 wild bees faces extinction in Europe, study warns (25/3/15)

Inappropriate fuel-reduction could see more losses of threatened species.

In late January, 2014, after wildfires tore through two conservation parks in South Australia, researchers scoured the charred terrain for signs of life.  Tragically, they found nothing; only the charred silence of an empty, burnt landscape!  The 60 remaining breeding pairs of Mallee emu-wren (Stipiturus mallee) in South Australia had been lost and the species was now extinct in the state.

The fires ignited in two conservation parks in South Australia’s Mallee region that were home to the only remaining South Australian populations of the endangered Mallee Emu-wren, and another fire in the Victorian mallee, 12 kilometres southwest of Ouyen, burnt the entire 13,000-hectare reserve that was one of two small populations in Victoria of the endangered Black-eared Miner. (Article republished from the Australian Wildlife Protection Website at "End of the line for the tiny Mallee Emu-Wren?"

Don't play with fire: Vic Gov should ignore more advice to incinerate more bushland

David Packham, former bushfire CSIRO scientist, is urging more 'fuel reduction' burns to our precious bushland. But more and more people are noticing that wildlife are not 'bouncing back' after the constant burning in Victoria. The yearly target of burning five per cent of public land, purportedly to reduce bushfire risk in Victoria (after the 2009 bushfires), means that within 20 years or even less, there will be no viable bushland left in this state on public land if people allow this to happen. Forests and their inhabitants just do not recover from this kind of assault, despite common propaganda that this is 'normal' for Australia. Kooris have since denied that this was their practice. People need to ask themselves, 'Who benefits?" when they hear calls for even more burning. The forestry industry benefits by replanting rows of straight pines which provide little habitat for animals and are in fact very flammable. The property development industry also benefits when bushland is razed by fire.

It's time to stop lighting fires - Article by Bob McDonald, Naturalist

This very widely and deeply researched article talks about the role of Australian native animals in protecting forests from fire and reviews the evidence for prescribed burns, criticising Bill Gammage's research on a number of grounds and noting misconceptions about Aboriginal fire management. "Research by the CSIRO published since 1994 has shown that there is a group of around 1000 species of moths called oecophorids whose caterpillars occur at densities of up to 400 per square metre and eat dead leaf litter. These insects are killed by fire and take some years to come back - leaving the bush accumulating leaf litter. With frequent fires they can be lost. Termites consume vast amounts of dead timber Australia wide and in long unburned forests they are particularly dense with huge mounds in southern Australia too but their role in fuel reduction remains unstudied! Cockroaches and a wide range of beetle species and their larvae do the same. Recent research has identified Lyrebirds and Mallee Fowl as playing key roles in fuel reduction, composting litter and twigs in vast amounts reducing fuel loads by tonnes by per year per bird. All these insects, birds and animals that reduce fuel loads are diminished or lost to fire. Fungi are known to be major consumers of dead timber - but their role in fuel reduction is yet to be researched and the role of wallabies, wombats and especially potoroos in distributing fungi, though it is obviously significant, remains unstudied.

Fire and Wildlife conference Nov 9 - See inside for Video re Victoria's disastrous fire and forest policy

Video and transcript inside This film, made for the conference exposes the lived experience of corrupt, stupid and lethal Victorian forest and fire management, despite and because of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The name of the film, "Firebug Economy," comes from Jill Redwood's description of a desperate way of making money out of fires by people in the declining logging business. In the film Jill also talks about the low flammability of old growth forests and the horrible synergy of forest removal, wildlife loss, and global warming, greatly accelerated under Victoria's 'planned burns policy'. Government policy has been stealthily converting old growth forests into plantations. Is the final aim is to sell them for farmland and urban development as Victoria burns? Please come to the Pause and Review conference in Melbourne 9th Nov 2014 at Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Melbourne. Starts 10am. Contact: Maryland Wilson 0417 148 501. Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland is famous for leading the first ever successful case by an environmental organisation against a government logging firm. In this film we find that the trees granted protection in the famous EEG court case against VicForests have since been vengefully felled.

Bushfire Commission - playing politics with fire?

Many Victorians who lost friends and family, and know people who lost houses in the 2009 furnace in Victoria are appalled at some of the recommendations issuing from the Royal Commision Final Report. They are trying to find solutions that match the enormity of the increase in bushfire threats of the future. Inform yourself with this analysis of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Report and Recommendations!

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