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2014 bushfires East Gippsland

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.
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