Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

I will Jail you and Feed you

August 23, 2010

Koalas on the Tweed Coast, Northern New South Wales,  face possible further imprisonment behind fences, without opportunity to interact with surrounding wild populations. Other native animals, caught behind this proposed fencing will also be imprisoned.

More bluecray KOALA articles can be found on this link HERE. (bluecray.org- Environmental Advocacy for the Mt Warning Caldera Region of NE NSW and SE QLD.)

Bluecray.org BIODIVERSITY LINKS : –  some useful  links for Biodiversity, Flora, Fauna, Koalas, Ecology and Catchment Management – Tweed Shire, NSW, Australia

PLANNING GUIDELINES FOR KOALA CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY – C McAlpine – 2007:- search results bluecray environmental search engine

SEPP 44 koala plan of management -information and links at bluecray environmental search engine

Nature Conservation Council (NSW) and Koalas – June 2010 – Assessment of Koala’s eligibility for listing as a threatened species under EPBC Act

LEP’s and SEPP’s at EDO (Environmental Defenders Office) – Factsheets to help you understand State Environmental Planning Policies – NSW, Australia

Developers to Face Koala Conservation Test” – article at Daily Telegraph by Vikki Campion (August 20th, 2010).  “Biodiversity program leader Mark Kingston, on the new Tweed Coast Koala Advisory Group, said the study results so far painted a bleak picture.” In this article, there is reference to the idea that the North Coast Koalas could be fenced, imprisoned and locked up  in some type of “sanctuary”. The idea is highly incompetent, when it comes to regional habitat management and authentic Environmental Stewardship.

Whilst the colonial sentiment of imprisonment ( such as to restrict anti social behaviour involved in taking food to survive) combined with the “victorian” attitude of capture and keep may have worked in a bygone era, this is 2010. Koalas have disappeared from the Tweed Coast because no one listened to the Koala Advocates back in the 70’s, 80’s and ’90’s of last century. This is called lack of precaution, and is sometimes used as a reason in Courts of  Law to point out that those in power have acted without due caution and care to future, possible or likely foreseeable events.

Concreting the Coastal 2003 : Clearing and Development Pressures on the NSW Coast 2003 Total Environment Centre PDF – this compiled resource by the TOTAL ENVIRONMENT CENTRE show problematic development, land clearing activity, approvals and proposals in coastal nsw 2002 -2003. It looks at the larger, more controversial, uncompleted developments at that time – (not the smaller, under the radar ones, nor the already completed ones). This is an excellent recent historic resource.

The current mood of acceptance that Koala populations are in dire trouble shows to me, that those in Council, now admitting the issues, have previously been well informed of the Koalas’ plight, and previously did not take the due care and necessary actions to preserve Koala populations over the past decades. Only very recently they (NSW Government, Tweed Shire Council) approved developments amidst outcries that this  imminent localised Koala extinction was about to happen in the foreseeable future.

Old fashioned, the trend for Koala sanctuaries does little to help the habitats for wild Koala populations. It does not help the wild Koala populations interact and live stress free, secure lives.

It is one thing to save the last few marsupials of a particular species, creating a breeding program and investing in habitat restoration  where the marsupial came from and lived. This can help the marsupial regain a foothold back into a wild state.

The concept , as explained in the above news article is based on ignorance and something bordering a sociopathic  delusional sense of self righteousness. Imprisonment of wild animals is cruel, and not at all an answer. Habitats of Koalas can be fostered and sponsored by the Tweed Shire Council and any developer (that seeks to profit from developing and creating infrastructure along the Tweed Coast.) So far,  there has been this mass development, mass habitat FRAGMENTATION and mass habitat destruction.

I would think that it is against Native Wildlife Laws to fence in wild populations when they are endangered or at risk. Better to create an environment and educational agenda that allows the marsupials to thrive and move freely. Better to enhance habitat and desist from mass HABITAT DESTRUCTION. Better to fence the dogs, the people, the cars, the developers and the government contractors creating the infrastructures that have and intend, in the future,  to create more problems for the Koalas survival???? Better to actively engage in HABITAT RESTORATION and habitat education, on a scale never before seen on the NE NSW Coast.
The idea of a koala sanctuary will have no real impact on the surrounding Koalas who live nearby, yet are fenced out. Koalas who have travelled to the area, if they are fenced in, will be submitted to micro-chipping devices, which seems a little extreme, given that Koalas can probably be recognised individually by Koala spotters who are familiar with the animals.

I guess that to many Koala “scientists”, individual micro-chipping can give some measure of knowing who, where, what and when information, concerning individual koala movements. However, Australians, as a whole, have become obsessed with information, and information is useless, if it isn’t approached with wisdom.

The WISDOM, if I may be so bold to suggest, is that infrastructures and developments have created much of the KOALA ISSUES today, and more of the “same as it ever was” approach to growth and development will create the same old issues – at the expense to the KOALA.

Passive, gentle approach to HABITATS – leaving vegetation as is, or if it requires habitat enhancement, gentle weeding and planting/encouragement of local, endemic vegetation gives good results. If a developer should wish to build into and about Koala Habitat, then that developer should have covenents such as “NO DOGS”, strict laws about vegetation plantings, and a voluntary code of planting programs that are several years ahead of the development, so that vegetation to replace the removal of plant communities for building and infrastructure, is already in place, at a reasonably advanced state. People should be educated as to what constitutes KOALA friendly lifestyles, starting at pre-school level.

Bulldozers and Koalas, habitat clearing and Koalas, highly networked roadways and Koalas – these things do not work well together. Bikeways, small localised villages, small regional developments with gentle approaches to infrastructure building – these things, and more can help KOALA HABITAT. A Koala Corridor is not a static situation. Like Koalas, their habitat is a living breathing, ever changing “entity”. It is a healthy continuity of living breathing forests, woodlands, wetlands, hills, valleys, catchments and much much more. The concept of a Koala corridor has served its purpose in the past century to help some localised Koala populations and heighten awareness about Koalas and their plight. It is, however, very narrow in concept, as our very infrastructure, urbanisation and agrarian mindsets create “habitats” that are in direct conflict with “Koala Habitat and Corridors”.

It is now time for people to be more honest in their approach to the KOALA.  It is now time to consider the Koala in its REGIONAL contex and how the localised infrastructure/urban and rural development AND regional infrastructure/urban and rural development  in the Tweed Shire implicates on the SURVIVAL of this THREATENED SPECIES.

But, essentially, as is the problem that we face Australia, and WORLD WIDE – it is our frantic racing lifestyle based on “more and faster” that is at the base of the KOALA EXTINCTION. The dogs, the cars, the illnesses – all symptoms. What was it, about the previous land custodians’ lifestyles (indigenous Australians), that gave us pristine heritage 200 years ago?

Authentic Land and Water Custodianship. Honouring Country. Respecting nature. The question I pose here, is the same Question that was posed me over 15 years ago. “Why should the matter of Koala road kill, dog kill, disease and death be an issue.??” Look beyond, go beyond the symptoms to the real issues. It is there that you, we – us all, will see what is at the heart of the matter. The beautiful, wild Koala is telling us something about ourselves. Are we brave enough to really “hear” and “LEARN” that truth?

Growth, greed, profit taking, cargo and corporate cults – these cults have been destroying the habitats of the NE NSW and SE QLD Koalas for decades now. There IS a WAY, but imprisonment is not  it!  Shame on you, Tweed Shire Council and the NSW Government. Shame on you.

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly – recovery by community action

March 8, 2009

 

Pararistolochia praevenosa - drawing of a plant near the Lamington Plateau, SE QLD

Pararistolochia praevenosa - drawing of a plant near the Lamington Plateau, SE QLD

Today, I was lucky enough to see a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. It was flying past me as I walked through my garden ( Upper Burringbar, Mt Warning Caldera, NE NSW, Australia).

This is only the second Richmond Birdwing Butterfly that I have ever seen. This Butterfly ((Ornithoptera richmondia), and it’s host plants arelisted  threatened species in Queensland, and although not listed in NSW or by the Australian Government, this Butterfly’s  survival is of concern, in NSW.

 It was quite large – green and black were the predominant colour. The first one I saw, was many years back, near Lower Beechmont, in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, SE Qld (and also part of the Mt Warning Caldera Region). That first one I saw was HUGE! I thought it was a bird!

This Butterfly I saw to day was also big. And it is a good sign to see one. I guess that the community action over the past ten years or so is really starting to pay off!

I have just written an article on this Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, at bluecray.org  . The conservation, recovery and the community action that has occurred is due to some very dedicated scientists and community volunteers over the past decade.  I was so happy to have seen this beautiful butterfly fly past me. Next time, I hope I have my camera ready!!

Organic Gardening and Growing the Biosphere

February 22, 2009

Organic Gardening , growing food with love and respect for the environment, dates back further than the history of writing. Once the different cultures of the world became agrarian, they began to settle and accumulate wealth. This wealth took on differing forms, and today, much of this wealth supports entire sections of our society.

Running through this history is the legacy of growing food organically. This legacy is extremely old, sustainable and healthy. It is based on living with biodiversity, water conservation and practical plant breeding and cultivation. Scientific knowledge has enhanced Organic Growing on many levels, however, it has also unwittingly caused the demise of much organic growing throughout the world.

I have just been for a short journey up to the Beechmont Plateau (Mt Warning Caldera Region), in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, Queensland. There are quite a few Organic Growers around Beechmont, and in the surrounding area.The Beech Mountain General Store has a nice range of Quality Organic food, and dotted along the roadside are a number of produce outlets.  Some practice Permaculture principles, some simple organics, some sell the food to the public on the Beechmont Plateau and others grow and collect seed for the industry.

pk_goes_to_beechmont_markets1PK on his way to the Beechmont Markets – across roadways, fences, cleared land and new developments – he finally makes it!!!

The organics industry is not only for food. It is also for textiles, beauty products, herbs and medicines, fodder crops, land restoration and habitat management to mention a few things.

Back in the 1980’s, I was lucky enought to meet with the Brisbane Organic Growers. Their founding members were an inspiration to me, full of knowledge, sharing and practical stories. Before, and since that time, many other organic groups have started up.  About the same time, I started meeting permaculture enthusiasts and bio-dynamic growers. All growers echoed similar principles of respect, love and natural increase for the land they worked with.  Permaculture offers a wider range of sustainable options to just organic growing -Permaculture is about sustainable lifestyle and much much more.

From then, I have watched the evolution of the Organic Standards across Australia, the melding into mainstream society of organic growing and the contrasting, very mainstream “traditional growing” of the Agricultural Chemical Industry, high energy input, monoculture, water intensive farming practices that still make up the mainstay of Australian agricultural and horticultural industries.

The more natural, time proven method of growing “organically” helps create more life force in the biosphere, by building up the soil and it’s humus, the natural systems about the growing area and keeping networked people close in the natural system

The less natural method – by far the most common type practiced in Australia, helps destroy the life force in the biosphere, based on extensive machinery cultivation, soil destruction, weed & pest chemical warfare, genetic modification and alientation from the smaller natural systems closeby.

It is easy to be trapped by the latter system – decades of education have sustained it.  Easy wealth and pride have championed it.  Science has condoned it and further been made rich by it.  There are many farmers (corporate, community, family, individual and small scale) who are trapped by it’s methods, beliefs, quick fix mentality and prestige.

 

It is not hard to change from one method to the other. Nature backs the organic way. Nature leads us back to the organic way.  Urbanised social systems and leaders (economics etc)back the other way. Now, I know who I would put my money on, in this regard. 

Yes, I would back nature over urbanised social economics any day for best practice sustainable outcomes.  There is a growing population of people supporting Organics and the Industries that support Organic Farming.

Each time you buy a spray, run a machine, over irrigate, and consume, consume, you are eating away at nature:-

  • by subsidising chemical companies and their stranglehold on non biodiverse seed crops:
  • by subsidising a petrochemical industry that has a history of environmental degradation that is almost unsurpassed;
  • by using water that is stored and diverted for irrigation purposes, thus justifying more and more large dams;
  • by giving your money and power to giant industries that control genetic manipulation, you support constant release of new and often dangerous new chemicals into the food chains of earth;

These above practices are furthering the myth of prestige through large industry, machine and landholdings.

 You are, in short, giving your money to the people who are not very well educated in sustainable ways and land custodianship, and expecting them to take care of you, in return.

With organics, you are subsidising nature, often subsiding local community, creating a healthier planet and showing by example that it can be done this way. You are helping nature in growing the biosphere.

Now, don’t get me wrong – Science has alot to offer – valuable learnings, recipes, methods, machines : HOWEVER……..I shall back nature over the monocultured/genetically modified/irrigation , chemical and machine intensive system any day! 

Some useful LINKS:

Seed Savers Network 

Select Organic – seeds for home gardeners

Organic Food Directory : Regional Organic Groups

Gold Coast Organic Farmers Market : location, times, articles, information

Threeworlds Organic Pizza Mermaid Beach Gold Coast, Qld Australia

Biological Farmers of Australia – Australia’s largest representative Organic Body: increasing consumer awareness of organic food and supporting  growth of local food economies

Demeter Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in Australia – 

  • The Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Association of Australia (BDAAA) : farmer based advisory organisation for commercial producers 
  • The Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI) : Organic and Bio-Dynamic Certification Organisation responsible for the DEMETER Trademark (Australian Accredited).
  • Biodynamic Marketing Co. Ltd. (BDMC) : Distributes Bio-Dynamic produce to Australian consumers and facilitates export

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia  -Australian and International Organic Certifier : resources, networks, links, steps to organic certification

Organic Research Group -Links for Organic Research ( University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia)

Organic Growers of Australia  – links and more

You Pick It – Farms & Roadside stalls at Organic Food Directory – Australia – find food by location, learn more about Organics and reasons to become Organic or support the Organic Industry 

EcoDirectory : food, farming, blogging, organics and alot more

USA : National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service : Market Gardening – A Start Up Guide . Although in USA, this site still offers relevent info for starting up a market garden

Finding a market in Mt Warning Caldera Region (NE NSW & SE QLD) : you can try some of the following links to locate a market in this region-

Qld Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries 

NSW Department of Primary Industries and Associated Agencies

Phantom Koala and the Roadworks

February 4, 2009

 

PK travels to Mt Warning, and on the way he meets up with Chin Ting, the dragonfly, who gives PK a Warning!!!

PK travels to Mt Warning, and on the way he meets up with Chin Ting, the dragonfly, who gives PK a Warning!!!

Koalas of the Tweed Shire in the  Mt Warning Caldera Region, NE NSW, Australia travel throughout the land sometimes by tree, but more often by walking and running  across the ground. 

Some of the obstacles and stresses Koalas meet in the Tweed Shire are:-

You can help Koalas of the Tweed Shire / Mt Warning Calder Region by :

Here are a few more links to some interesting Koala –  Phascolarctos cinereus –  Information and Educational Websites and articles:-

I have included the following few Electricity Power LINKS as often, these vast networks of Electricity Corridors hold keys to where future developments and roads may go, as well as, like main arterial road networks, these Corridors contain fences, Koala food and management practices that may reflect on local Koala populations:-

  • Powerlink Qld Australia : High Voltage Transmission Networks
  • Transgrid NSW Australia : High Voltage Transmission Networks
  • Australian Energy Regulator Website : legislation  , you can also find here the Compendium of Electricity Transmission Regulatory Guidelines Aug 2005    – “Regulatory Test” p.36 ”  (12)  Committed project means a project which satisfies all the following criteria: a) the proponent has obtained all required planning consents, construction approvals and licenses, including completion and acceptance of any necessary environmental impact statement;
  • Friends of the Koala – sick/injured Koala ph no : (02)6622 1233

             Courses run : Basic Training Day: 7th March 2009 Lismore

Corridors Conservation and Phantom Koala

January 30, 2009

Vegetation Fragmentation of Koala Corridors in Tweed Shire : Roads and roadworks pose a threat to Koala Habitats and Koala general health,  well being and ultimate survival within the Tweed Shire Area of the Mt Warning Caldera Region. With every new development comes a new road……….

Phantom Koala travels to Mt Warning to visit his family

Phantom Koala travels to Mt Warning to visit his family

It’s a beautiful day here in the Mt Warning Caldera, (NE NSW & SE QLD), Australia – I have  been travelling about the country here (by road!!!), taking photos for some articles on vegetation fragmentation, roadsides, transport and utilities’ corridors. My focus was land management and stewardship. Tweed Shire has plenty to offer, when it comes to photographic opportunities in this field! New highways, old highways, dirt roads, culverts, local road verges, power line corridors, new developments, roundabouts galore and more. 

Hopefully these articles write themselves soon!!!

Meanwhile, please meet Phantom Koala! or PK as his friends call him. PK will be taking many of the journeys about the countryside with me, and he sometimes has alot to say about what he sees,  so feel free to drop back into the website, and see what PK has to say! And, I may even have an article on roadsides and corridor conservation posted by then.

And,  it is not only Tweed Shire that the threat of continuing fragmentation of Koala corridors is happening:-

Two adjoining Council areas – the Gold Coast City Council and the Byron Shire Council also have plenty of new roads and developments just finished or in the pipeline! 

 

google HTML documents of the PDF files:-

Tugun Bypass Environmental Impact StatementTechnical Paper Number 12 – Flora and Fauna Assessment : Flora and Fauna AssessmentQueensland Department of Main Roads:-

  • Appendix D Survey for Reptiles, Amphibians and Mammals Inhabiting the Northern Section of the Proposed Tugun Bypass (Hero et al. 2001a)
  • Appendix C Survey of Reptiles, Amphibians and Mammals Inhabiting Coastal Lowland Areas Associated with the Proposed Tugun Bypass (Hero et al.2000)

Some other Koala LINKS:-

  • List of Useful Koala References   at  Koala Research in Queensland
  • Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (the Committee) on Amendments to the list of Threatened Species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) : not eligible  (i am not sure of the date of this document)


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