When Europeans settled Australia, much of the country was covered by grasslands and open forests. In 1770, that great botanist Sir Joseph Banks reported “very few tree species, but every place was covered with vast quantities of grass”. Many other explorers and settlers made similar observations.
The land had been kept in this state for centuries by aboriginal land managers using their main tool, fire. However, since 1788, the use of fire was progressively suppressed by settlers, foresters, city dwellers, bureaucrats and environmentalists.
Trees invade and then suffocate grasslands unless tree seedlings are kept in check by fire or by mechanical or chemical means.
The destruction of Australia’s ancestral grasslands has received a massive boost in recent years by green extremists aiming to remove human activities from rural Australia using national parks, reservations, crown land, heritage areas, Wild Rivers, vegetation orders, logging bans and now Kyoto bans on regrowth clearing.
Prevention of hazard reduction burning (the key tool used by generations of aborigines to maintain Australia’s landscape), lockout of grazing animals and the spread of carbon credit forests is completing the destruction of our savannah lands.
Once the grasslands become infested by woody scrubs, these quickly give protection to noxious weeds such as lantana, groundsel and boxthorn, and vermin such as foxes and wild dogs, cats, and pigs.
The amazing grasses of the world and their seeds feed most of the animal kingdom. The deliberate sacrifice of native grasslands to woody weeds is another suicidal green policy.
For those who would like read some fascinating comments by early explorers and settlers see: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/fire-and-landscape.pdf [PDF, 1.8 MB]