09 September, 2007

LETTER: Save water, thin trees

The Age, 9/9/2007

The implication in Carmel Egan's article, "Warring parties turn sights on river red gums" (2/9), is that somehow the creation of a national park will deliver water to flood the forest.

Flooding the forest would require water, not national park status. In turn, having sufficient water available for flooding would require a return to a cycle of wetter weather, something that is not in our immediate control. It would also require (among other actions) Premier Brumby to abandon plans to pump Goulburn River water to Melbourne.

In the interim, it is rather obvious that parts of the forest require thinning so that there would be less trees competing for water and nutrients. The thinnings could be used as a renewable energy source — firewood. If the thinning was done commercially, it would not cost the taxpayer.

Creating national parks did not save the hundreds of millions of native animals that died in the fires of 2006-07 and the earlier fires of 2003. It is arguable that the reverse was the case, as national parks are essentially abandoned land.

There is little doubt that the red gum forests will suffer the same fate under a parks regime, as the current parks are neglected and overgrown disasters waiting to happen. More parks will add to our environmental problems. Parks as an environmental measure are a myth.

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