Professor David Lindenmayer ("'Gobsmacking': Forests need decades to recover from bushfires", canberratimes.com.au, January 22) has pleaded for the re-establishment of long-term monitoring of fire-prone forests and woodlands.
This would mean land, fire and wildlife managers could be provided with the knowledge they need to do their jobs in a changing climate future when more fire is inevitable.
Unfortunately the Long-Term Ecological Research Network was axed under the Coalition at the end of 2017.
Of course the politicians don't need such scientific knowledge any more than they need to understand climate change. They know better. For example, bushfires are mainly caused by arson and are supported by excessive fuel loads in national parks, right?
The massive Currowan fire on the NSW South Coast was started by lightning (not arson) in a state forest (not a national park) near where logging operations were being carried out.
Lindenmayer suggests fires in forests subject to logging can be more severe and recur more frequently than other areas. It burned for weeks, mainly through state forest areas, before breaking out and running through coastal villages on a day of extreme fire weather.
Of course this was totally unexpected, unprecedented, a "natural disaster".
Well, as the saying goes, there are none so blind as those who will not see!
Richard Johnston, Kingston
Very well said
Last Tuesday James Valentine and Margaret Throsby (on ABC Sydney) beautifully summed up the feelings many Australians are experiencing this summer.
One feeling which I feel will resonate with many was the thought that the country has suffered a type of mental breakdown.
With all the bad events since September the typical holiday season has been anything from happy.
Now there appears to be no leadership from the front, only reactive actions and words.
Gail McAlpine, Griffith
Hard to ignore
When I was a kid my parents had a holiday house on the south coast we visited every second weekend.
Over the years, travelling the Hume Hwy and The Kings Hwy to the coast, we would have witnessed or passed hundreds of road fatalities.
I grew immune to the fact roads were dangerous.
It wasn't until 2000 that I saw something that changed my perspective.
The South Australian government had installed red markers to indicate each individual injured in a motor vehicle accident, and black markers to indicate where an individual had died, on a 100 kilometre stretch of straight road.
After passing hundreds of these, on occasion in large clusters, an impression was left on me that drove home the road safety message. It has stayed with me for 20 years.
Maybe this is a scheme which could be rolled out nationally?
Greg Adamson, Griffith
Clock is ticking
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists probably would have moved the Doomsday Clock even closer to midnight had they heard the latest load of climate reaction patter from our intractable Davos attendee, finance minister Mathias Cormann ("Australia singled out for climate 'denial' at Doomsday Clock event", smh.com.au, January 24 ).
Cormann provided a classic example of the disinformation and lack of national leadership that these scientists assess and despair over.
Sue Dyer, Downer
How smart is that?
Like CSIRO at Black Mountain, the nearby ANU's Research School of Biology reports similar hailstorm devastation visiting their own numerous glasshouses ("ANU to reopen after hail creates chaos", January 23, p4).
Two of Australia's top scientific research and educational institutions, both credited with being at the forefront of environmental awareness, have failed to take obvious, practical and relatively inexpensive steps (e.g. placing hail-proof suspended netting upon glass roofs) to prevent an onerous debacle.
This does not bode well for their ability to provide us with preventative environmental advice of a more complex nature.
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
They don't understand
Apparently some authors of letters to the editor misunderstand the use of Royal Commissions by Federal Governments.
The Royal Commission will take time to fully examine the nature of recent bushfires, the responses by the different levels of government and the views of interested parties.
The scale of the fires and the thousands of those who fought the fires, administered the various agencies and those who fed the firefighters, worked in the evacuation centres and gave assistance to those who suffered great loss, mean the Royal Commission will require two or three years to record the views of those affected, current research, previous Royal Commissions and so forth.
In short, Royal Commissions give the PM and his ministers the perfect excuse to do nothing. Best of all, by the time the report is published, the voters will have moved on to other issues.Rod Olsen, Watson
Meantime ministers "could not possibly comment on matters that are before the Royal Commission". In short, Royal Commissions give the PM and his ministers the perfect excuse to do nothing.
Best of all, by the time the report is published, the voters will have moved on to other issues.
Rod Olsen, Watson
More ScoMo spin
The same scientists who predicted the bushfires in 2020 also forecast rising sea levels.
By the middle of this century many of our coastal communities will face inundation. Is Morrison going to ignore this warning too?
For this climate change event, no amount of resilience or adaption will work. Has Morrison got a plan to construct a great big levy around Australia? Addressing the cause of climate change is the only solution.
Dan Buchler, Waramanga
The greater good
I'd like to reassure Pamela Fawke (Letters, Jan 21) that I'm a passionate environmentalist and keenly aware that an ecological precipice has been crossed and a mass extinction event set in motion.
Ian Pilsner, whose "contribution" followed Ms Fawke's, erroneously ascribes bitterness at the results of an election process in which I refuse to participate as the source of my disdain for the corporate supplicants who shamelessly compromise the well-being of everyone for the enrichment of a few.
Miserly post-political pensions must be supplemented by an executive appointment or two if one is to avoid prostitution, apparently.
I make no apologies for expressing my particular contempt for those whose wilful ignorance continues to facilitate the most egregious, and possibly last, moral abdication in the history of humanity.
James Allan, Narrabundah
How dare he?
Alan Shroot has the gall to claim Iran (which is not occupying any other country) is a terror-supporting rogue state and that General Soleimani deserved to be assassinated because he was a terrorist.
Further, Shroot accuses Iran of hiding nuclear activities while the Israeli regime has been doing precisely that for decades.
Who is Iran accused of terrorising? My understanding is Soleimani was helping Iraqi troops to fight Iraqi terrorists. For a while the US was pretending to fight the same terrorists, but it seems the Iraqis, especially the Kurds, were the most effective fighters.
Now Turkey wants to kill the Kurds the US regime is backpedalling out of harm's way but not out of Iraq. Who would want such an ineffective and unreliable ally?
Members of the Iraqi parliament have called for the US regime to leave Iraq. The US is refusing to do so, just as Israel refuses to leave Palestine and the Golan Heights.
Shroot claims the Iraqis in Iraq are costing American lives. Why doesn't the US just leave Iraq and the Israelis just leave Palestine?
The entire world should boycott Israel until it leaves Palestine.
R. Salmond, Melba
Sliced and diced
It is good, in principle, that the Federal Government has created a $2 billion fund for bushfire recovery.
Every day, since the fund was created, we see the government slicing and dicing it with announcements about amounts to be used for a range of purposes.
It's to be hoped the distribution occurs expeditiously and with integrity. We don't want a repeat of the disgraceful "sports rorts" experience where politicians could not resist getting their sticky fingers on the dollars.
It is up to the Prime Minister to set up transparent processes which maximise benefits against real needs.
Keith Croker, Kambah
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