… or is that politics, or perhaps bureaucracy. They all blend in this debate.
The Parlours Creek block is one part of the 30 sq km Barjarg Rd burn that will go up in smoke in the next few weeks, along with Koalas, Greater Gliders, old-growth trees and other innocent victims of this arrogance. Once burnt, the fuel in the much of the forest will be reduced, perhaps reducing the severity of a bushfire for at least the next couple of years. After that, there may well be an increase in fuels compared to before the fire, as fire stimulates regeneration of disturbance-loving species (like dogwood Cassinia aculeata and wattles). So, what might have been an open shrub-layer beneath towering old-growth Mountain Gums (Eucalyptus dalrympleana) before the fire, could well become a dense tangle of shrubs with elevated fuel loads, for the next 20+ years, beneath charred stumps of former forest giants. The fire may create a few years of reduced risk and a few decades of increased risk – a questionable strategy, really.
A group of 45 people ventured into part of Parlours block on Easter Monday, to view first-hand what exactly was at stake. The creek and surrounding slopes are very special, not least because the entire area we walked through was virtually weed-free; not one blackberry! Will it remain so once the burn has opened up the canopy and understorey? This is another one of those pesky little issues that can’t be measured and don’t rate a mention in the Fire Operations Plan. Enjoy the pics – click to view the slide show.
One of the reasons for the walk was to retrieve six trail cameras that had been out in the block for two weeks, to see what sorts of animals frequent this bush. Those results coming soon.