According to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change late last month, sequestering carbon dioxide is only one of the crucial climate-regulating attributes inherent to the world’s forests.

Will forest shredders stop fires?

Putting VicForests as the overseer of these trials has discredited the trial’s integrity right from the start.

Trials are currently underway to assess ‘mechanical fuel reduction’ in our public forests. The details are sketchy but seem to be based on a US practice of using heavy machinery with mulching/shredding capacity to run through native forests turning everything in the lower and mid story into mulch or shredded material. ...

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Victoria’s logging industry faces supply dilemma

In 2009, 75,000 ha of Victoria’s forests were burnt in the Black Saturday bushfires. Over a 3rd of that was forests earmarked for the logging industry. The prospect of bushfires are never calculated into long term planning or log contracts with mills. Couple this situation with other bushfires and a history of overlogging and the result is unprecedented environmental destruction and habitat loss, but also a huge shortfall in the logs available to the logging industry.  

In 2013 the Heyfield ...

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How did the environment fare in the Vic budget 2017?

All up it has $306M was allocated to our environment (sport managed $308M). This is less than half of what the M80 Ring Road has been allocated, and less than half the schools’ budget.

Biodiversity Plan 2037 – $86M for reveg and pest control.

Parks – $32M for new rangers over 2 years and a revamped website. $28M – promotion of parks and tourism.

EPA – $163M for better enforcement, ...

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Responses of invasive predators and native prey to a prescribed forest fire

Fire shapes biome distribution and community composition worldwide, and is extensively used as a management tool in flammable landscapes. There is growing concern, however, that fire could increase the vulnerability of native fauna to invasive predators.

We developed a conceptual model of the ways in which fire could influence predator–prey dynamics. Using a before–after, control–impact experiment, we then investigated the short-term effects of a prescribed fire on 2 ...

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Memories of Black Saturday reminder that our forests need time to grow

We did not know it was coming until a spot fire blazed red a hundred metres away. Flames crackled through wattle and blackberry thickets; gum trees exploded with a woomph; and a dog and a black mountain possum dashed towards us in terror. 

The inferno raged for hours around our mud brick cottage at Granton, near Narbethong, devouring the crown land forest alongside our block and incinerating the garden, sheds and neighbouring homes. The next morning brought the full horror of a ...

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Bird Safety Tips and the Toxic Effects of Smoke

This could explain why there seem to be fewer birds than before the 2014 Goongerah/Deddick fires, even in the areas where the fire didn’t reach. The thick smoke lasted for almost 8 weeks. Smoke impacts birds respiratory system, which is more efficient than mammals’ so they can absorb more oxygen (this allows them to fly) but they absorb more toxins as well.

…Why are birds more susceptible to the toxic effects of smoke?  Short answer: because their respiratory system is more ...

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Nature’s way to reduce fire risk

All gardeners know that turning and aerating a compost pile decomposes it far more quickly. The resulting rich humus is a soil conditioner, encourages good fungi and invertebrates, holds water and provides nutrients to the garden.

This is a simple example of how our forests function when the many players are healthy and in balance.The Superb Lyrebird is one of these essential components of forest fuel reduction. Using ...

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The secret life of echidnas reveals a world-class digger vital to our ecosystems

Echidnas may not seem the most active of animals. Waddling around, they spend much of their time dozing and hiding. But in research published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology, we show that echidnas dig huge amounts of soil, and play a crucial role in Australia’s ecosystems.

By attaching miniature GPSs and accelerometers to echidnas in Western Australia, we found that these mammals move on average 200 cubic metres of soil each year. For the 12 echidnas we studied, this ...

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New modelling on bushfires shows how they really burn through an area

Bushfires in Australia can have a devastating impact on an environment and destroy homes and lives, so any effort to prevent them is a welcome move.

But the way that we have traditionally understood bushfires and forest flammability in Australia is not up to the challenges of our changing climate. Thankfully, a new approach is making sense of the confusion by looking at the plants themselves.

Unfortunately though, time is running out. Years ago I could stand on a ridge in the ...

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