You may have heard of Peter Spencer, the desperate Australian farmer who went on a hunger strike to draw attention to the fact that government bans on clearing vegetation had stolen his assets and destroyed his business. Peter is just one of many Australian farm families reduced to desperation and even suicide by seizure or sterilisation of their land to satisfy the voracious green god.
The most massive injustice occurred a couple of years ago, when, as a sacrifice to the Kyoto god, the federal government conspired with state governments to ban vegetation clearing on all property, even freehold. This was done in an underhand way to allow the government to seize carbon credits from landowners without paying compensation.
Many well meaning people, while not happy with the tactics and the refusal to pay compensation for property seized or devalued, think that there will be some environmental or climate benefits to come from all this.
Generally there are none.
Even if extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was a good idea (and it isn’t), no tree can keep extracting it on a long term basis. Every living thing (including trees, grass, cows and humans) borrows carbon from the environment as it grow, stops extracting it at maturity, and hands the valuable carbon back to the environment when it dies and the body rots. Net life time extraction equals ZERO. It is absolute scientific nonsense to believe that trees can have a long term effect on so called greenhouse gases. Like everything politicians touch, short term appearances and secret agendas are preferred to long term reality.
Banning the clearing of scrub regrowth in our grasslands is also a backward step environmentally. Everyone can see and understand tree forests, but no one appreciates the grass forests beneath their feet. Natural fires created our grasslands long before humans occupied Australia. They are valuable environmental landscapes far more important to humans than the stupid carbon credit forests and eucalypt weeds now invading them. With closer settlement and excessive areas locked up by governments, fires no longer protect our grasslands and landowners must use machinery to maintain their grass. Preventing this is like telling a market gardener he is not allowed to chip weeds invading his vegetable patch. Every landowner tries to guard the long term value of his land. No one has a monopoly on knowledge on how to do it. Some properties may need more trees, some less – if more trees are a benefit, landowners will grow them without coercion.
Does anyone seriously believe that a few green politicians and activists can devise one dictatorial land plan for every property from Longreach to Wagga and then use legal bludgeons, land confiscation and a desk bound bureaucracy to enforce the co-operation of landowners?
The Senate is currently carrying out an enquiry into some aspects of this massive land mismanagement. It is a bigger scandal than the home insulation scheme, and few politicians are free of blame. The Senate will be surprised at the injustices that will be revealed by this enquiry.
The Carbon Sense Coalition has (in some haste) made a Submission to this enquiry. We urge you to read it and print it out for friends. See it at:
Even if you don’t read it, open it and look at the pictures.
We must not let them sweep all this under the table again. We need your help to get this short note to every landowner, every media outlet and every politician. Please help us spread it around.
And remember to tell everyone “Grass is also Green”.
21st March 2010
Can’t see the Grass for the Trees?
The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on the Australian Parliament to repeal the vegetation clearing bans before Australia’s productive grasslands are lost to woody weeds.
The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the Kyoto bans were introduced deviously by state governments acting as stooges for the federal government to deprive landowners of potential carbon credits without paying compensation.
“Now they are creating a growing public liability as trees invade ancestral grasslands.
“Every continent in the world had vast native grasslands, often treeless, kept free of trees by lightning fires, and supporting huge populations of herbivores and their dependent predators. The treeless Prairies supported bison and antelope; the Pampas supported deer and camelids; the Veldts supported wildebeest, zebra and antelopes; and Australia’s grasslands supported kangaroos and emus.
“Trees and grasses are in continual competition for soil space and access to solar energy. Old journals, diaries, sketches and photos can attest the fact that there are now more trees in Australian grasslands than there were 100 years ago. Some properties can document the substantial tree invasion even since the first aerial photos were taken in the 1950’s. This invasion has accelerated since governments started meddling in vegetation control.
“Human settlers, both black and white, have learned that fires were essential to re-invigorate the grasslands and control their invasion by trees. But with closer settlement, there are reduced opportunities to use fires to control trees and landowners must use machinery to protect their grass.
“White settlement in Australia has brought two major changes to vegetation. Firstly, in the forests and scrubs along the coast, timber getters and small selectors cleared the fertile soil for crops and farms. Human development and infrastructure ensure that these forests seldom recovered. Secondly, scrubby regrowth and trees have invaded much of the grassland and open forest.
“If governments want to turn back the vegetation clock, they should be removing towns, roads, railways, schools, orchards, housing developments, cultivation and market gardens from the once forested coastal areas to allow coastal forests to re-establish. But this would lose too many votes, so they advocate accelerated destruction of our ancient grasslands. Their hope is that this will gain more votes from tree huggers than will be lost from grass farmers, where there are few votes to lose.
“Today the grasslands support domesticated grazing animals and farms of cultivated grasses and legumes that are essential food sources for humans. Invasion of Australia’s grasslands by eucalypt weeds is destroying our ability to produce food, which will show up in the cities as rising food prices and declining jobs.
“These bans can have no long term effect on greenhouse gases. They will reduce food production and slash property values. They are cynical exercises in vote buying and international grandstanding which should be immediately abandoned.”
“If action is not taken we will soon reach a state where we can’t see the grass for the trees.”
For a fuller discussion of “Grasses, Trees, Climate and Food” see:
Disclosure: Viv Forbes and his wife own and live on a freehold sheep and cattle grazing property at Rosevale in Queensland. The tree population on this property has increased greatly during their occupation. The property is affected by vegetation management plans prepared without any consultation with the owners.