12 November, 2008

LETTER: Enough of the hysteria

Mark Poynter, Victorian media spokesman, Institute of Foresters of Australia, Doncaster East
Letter, The Age, 12/11/08

OLD growth forests have long been misrepresented as museum exhibits that will stand forever. The Wilderness Society's Luke Chamberlain is just the latest conservationist to forget that forests actually live and die with his claim that "92% of Victorian old growth has been lost since European settlement. Brown Mountain is among the best still standing" (10/11). Aside from the impact of Europeans over the past 180 years, millions of hectares of Victorian forest has naturally grown old, declined, died, and been replaced by young regrowth — some of it several times over. Other areas that were young forest have since grown to comprise Victoria's current crop of 840,000 hectares of old growth, including at Brown Mountain.

The only certainty is that these old forests will eventually die or be killed by fire and that the parks and reserves in which almost all of them reside will look different in the future. In the context of this, the hysteria surrounding the harvesting and regeneration of a tiny 18-hectare portion for human use is unwarranted.

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