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logging at Glen Wills/ Mt Wills

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Cam Walker, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Addicted

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    hello all,
    for those that are interested, there is a letter writing campaign going on to try and get some coupes pulled from current cutting schedules north of Omeo: 2 coupes that will damage the water supply for a local eco-tourism venture and one that will cut through a section of the Alps walking track.

    Details here: http://themountainjournal.wordpress.com/
    regards
    cam
     
    #1 Cam Walker, Apr 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  2. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    #3 VSG, Apr 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  4. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I entirely understand where Cam is coming from. I love the high country as much as anyone and when I took a friend up Donna Buang a week ago, I found that I could identify most plant species on both the rainforest walkway and up on the sub-alpine summit area. (The beard-heath are in fruit at the moment and their little red berries are especially sweet and yummy.)

    BUT, Australia is a net importer of wood products and we all know how the timber and paper we import is sourced,: strip felled from third world forest with no forest management or land rehabilitation. Once the logging is over erosion begins and the land is pretty much permanaently stuffed.

    Contrast this with Australian timber harvesting, you may not like it, but it is closely supervised, the land is rehabilitated and reseeded with mixed species and the relatively small coupes are surrounded by untouched forest which allows plants, animals and creepy-crawlies to easily recolonise the logged area.

    So as unsightly as local timber harvesting may be, the practices are a squillion times better than those in the third world. That's why I reckon we have an environmental responsibility to be self-sufficient in timber products, not a net importer causing damage to the third world like we are now.

    And yes, I do practice what I preach. When I needed timber for renovation work, I asked for mountain ash when it would have been cheaper if I'd specified meribu or some other third world sourced species.
     
  5. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    ... reclaimed, recycled timber.
     
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Repreived Ski Pass: Gold

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    The real prob in Aus is the govt not charging a reasonable value for the resource; have read that royalties don't even cover the cost of govt-provided infrastructure. In Tassie Gunns get access to old growth hardwood at a fraction of the price they sell their own plantation timber at. And don't let me get started on the system of log classification whereby good timber ends up as chips.

    Much as it can be ugly and distort local economies, I'd rather see marginal farmland used for hardwood plantations than forest eco-systems trashed.

    That we do better in forest mgt than 3rd world countries is not much of an accolade IMO Bogong. I agree that ethical, sustainable and true-cost practices are important but we have a long way to go on this.
     
  7. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's no problem... not from the south... The north? you can hardly notice.... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #7 VSG, Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  8. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting discussion.But remember that some of roads in this area:classified for hardwood logging.Are maintained because they provide access to forest workers.After last major fires the place is a mess.Managed hardwood logging is probably in the best interest of Alpine users as Parks dont seem to take fire prevention activities very seriously.We cant rely on natural fires to regenerate our bush areas so they need to be managed or we get moribund trees:old growth forests with no young trees comming along.Clear felling only a bigger idea than when a giant over mature tree falls and obliterates understorey below.A natural mess but still a big dynamic mess!!
     
  9. legend

    legend One of Us

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    What happened pre-european?? Aborigines didn't burn the alpine ash forest - no need, very little food or wild life, they tended to burn the dry sclerophyll foothill/coastal areas.
    Alpine ash if left alone without fire will normally generate into an amazing open wet sclerophyll forest. Ground story plants tend to be grasses, ferns and other low growing herbaceous plants. When a fire disrupts the system, seed that have lied dormant for many years (often since the previous fire) have been given a hit with smoke and heat and excess light will suddenly take off (the impenetrable scrub we see from regrowth be it from logging or natural/manmade fire).
    Slowly, the grasses take over (over a period of +40 years) as the scrubs die out and haven't been disturbed (needed fire to germinate).
    Cool burning aggravates the scrub cycle and will stimulate more scrub (if done every 4 - 5 years the hopbush, wattle and other quick growing shrubs that need fire to germinate will become the normal understory - they die after 10 years but the seed is dormant for many years after).
    This fallacy of logging is good for the forest is a con job. Old growth forests are still flowering and dropping seed. After logging it takes much longer for the forest to recover (roads, snig tracks, poorly/unburnt windrows, introduced weeds, etc).
    In the case of ash species, after logging the area should be left for the natural seed to take over. It is rare for an area to be contaminated with seed from another area (hence the need for a post logging HOT fire to germinate the seed in the ground and from the 'habitat' trees left standing (which are often killed in such fires).
     
  10. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Aboriginal fire management was undertaken on landscape scales using small fires frequently creating a "mosaic burning system". Different associations in Australia require differing amounts of anthropogenic disturbance. Over a temporal scale of centuries old growth forests which receive no disturbance will become rainforests, or a similar association as the sclerophyll species fail to reproduce and become displaced by other species (admittedly too much of disturbance has been more of an issue over the last couple of centuries).

    I think well managed native forestry is a much better environmental choice than plantation mono cultures.
     
  11. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    OTOH, young trees absorb much more CO2 and release much more O2 than do old trees.
     
    #11 teckel, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2013
  12. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not so, Legend, go to the Cement Creek track on Donna Buang if you want to compare burnt and unburnt areas.
    There you alternate between rainforest and eucalypt forest all the way up the hill and get to walk through almost monoculture Myrtle Beech forest in the snow. But around the bend you find an area which was burnt in 1939 and it is now mostly snowgum..

    Pre white settlement, the forests did burn. There were the same number of lightning strikes and the aborigines weren't the simple eco-loving "noble savages" of inner-urban myth. While they avoided montane forests in the cold wet winters, they did visit in summer and practised a fairly sophisticated form of "firestick agriculture" whereby fires were lit to both flush out game and provide a grassy understory in future years. Of course some of these fires got out of control the same way wildfires do today.

    That's why species related to modern temperate rainforest plants, (but suited to a slightly drier climate) largely died out on the mainland circa 6,000 years ago when a more sophisticated type of aborigine arrived in Australia. Their firestick never got to isolated Tasmania which is why the montane forests in that state aren't as dominated by fire friendly eucalypts as they are on the mainland.
     
    #12 Bogong, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
    Mister Tee on XC Skis likes this.
  13. legend

    legend One of Us

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    Snowgum, Mountain and Alpine Ash have specific requirements (aspect, altitude, rainfall, soil depth and type, etc). Hence you will sometimes find snowgum in an area lower than alpine ash, especially on different sides of mountains. At other times, the ash/ snowgum will almost have a definite line of segregation as you climb higher.
    Beech will become a dominant feature in suitable areas that have not seen fire for hundreds of years. If a fire comes through, it will often resume its Euc resumption due to seed deposition.
    Re- aboriginal use of fire stick agriculture: They utilised the lowland forests and didn't burn the alpine ash areas (there was no need, too few animals compared to the lowland forests, & few suitable plants for consumption). They certainly traversed such areas but as a means of reaching the alpine areas in summer and moving from one area to the next. It is thought, but not for certain that they did change some of the vegetation patterns in Aus. But some also believe Australia's drying out/vegetation changes were contributed with a slow climatic change that occurred with the cessation of the last ice-age.
    I was also talking about how some see a need to intervene (forest operations and not parks) in and upset the fire regimes. This often leads to very thick vegetation until at some time it has a chance to die and thin out.
    Back in the early '70s when the alpine track was first established with the aid of the then Forestry Commission Victoria, they believed the track shouldn't be interrupted by logging practices. There were major objections when they decided to push the road into Catherine Saddle and log Mt Despair. The bushwalkers 'won' the day and they logged the southern side leaving the track intacked. In the late '70s, the FCV wanted to log nearby mountain sides near the Viking. This was seen as a major wilderness peak and again the many protests saw had the FCV vow not to have logging 'visible' from the mountain. How things have changed!!! During this time, logging was to be done on the slopes of Mt Bogong (Eskdale Spur, Snowy Creek and the Eastern face around to T Spur) and the high voltage transmission line was to run through Trappers Gap on the Eskdale Spur. Again many opposition voices stopped this from happening.
    About this time, Mansfield had over 40 mills, but due to cutting out the ash at a much greater rate than sustainabilty allowed, the mill population tumbled.
    The State Gov had the Alpine Park gazetted in 1989, but on the insistence of once only logging in a number of spots in order to prolong the dying industry. Twenty years on and these areas are still showing the tell tale signs. It will be atleast another 20 bwefore some disappear.
     
  14. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I used to think views like Legend's were dying out.
    But Cam shows that there are a few Gen Y's prepared to take up the baby-boomer torch.

    But that's good, there is nothing like a good debate to stimulate thought and work out a fair compromise. [​IMG]
     
    #14 Bogong, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  15. CaptainC

    CaptainC Hard Yards

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    Cam isn't trying to stop all logging in the Glen Wills area, he's just trying to remove certain coupes from the logging schedule. The letter he wants you to sign makes the point that a similar excision of a logging area was made in November 1999.
     
  16. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Legend is right, there isn't much evidence of aboriginal disturbance in montane areas and almost none in sub alpine and alpine areas (it was mostly traveling too and from moth sites and associated corroborees in montane areas).
     
  17. skifree

    skifree Sort of old & definitely grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Clear fell the lot and convert to terraced rice farms. Much more effcient and useful.
     
  18. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    I'm sort of "tweener" on logging, which is typically a polarised argument and I can't agree with either end of it. I much prefer managed native forestry over the environmental devastation and unsustainable practices that charactise plantations. However there are plenty of areas, not necessarily in reserves, that in my view should be left well alone. The coupes that Cam describes probably come into that category.
     
  19. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    My area is logged fairly heavily. The town is dependent on logging. It gives you a different perspective. Logging activity atm is frenetic - hundreds of logging trucks every day go past. It seems that half of east Gippsland has moved here to log. It's all salvage logging from the fires. They have about 2 years to get the dead mountain ash out of here (from the 2009 fire), before the timber is of no value. Makes a lot of sense to me. Better to log dead trees than living ones. But the greenies are still kicking up a stink. One letter in a Healesville newspaper last week complained that all that was left was wattle and blackwood at waist height with "a few small eucalypt". Ummm that's what happens after a fire. And there are many more than a few eucalypt. It's thick with eucalypt. They should have left the canopy trees she said. Ummm ... the canopy trees were all dead. Why does the green movement attract so many idiots?
     
  20. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Excellent idea. High rainfall area, generally. Much more rain than up in the Wimmera and the Riverina (NSW) where they grow stuff like that. Terraced hillsides, a Bali look. Easily marketable.

    [​IMG]
     
    #20 VSG, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  21. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good stuff. We all like nice timber in our kitchens, eateries, hotels, cafes and country retreats. Mountain Ash looks swell. Go for it.

    <span style='font-size: 8pt'>The end of logging around Bombala has killed it and has already killed off Nimmitabel, a cute little town perched at around 1100m looking back west to the NSW main range. Snows around Nimmy as well. And Bega on the south coast NSW is only an hours drive. Two hours from Canberra. Logging SE forests was good for business and communities. It was a social issue too. Communities are breaking up. Misguided enviro dweebs have stuffed it. Kids now move to Cooma and even Canberra, permanently, for work. Eden too. [​IMG]</span>
     
    #21 VSG, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  22. skifree

    skifree Sort of old & definitely grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why should towns last forever?
     
  23. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes it is recycled. (I recycled it from the timber yard LOL).

    As someone who uses timber daily, I have somewhat of a vested interest. It has always seemed quite dense to me that you would simply log until it was all gone. You know the trees take a long time to grow, what are your kids going to log? How does managed native forest work? What are yields like in comparison? I hear there are new tree species (or adapted) that will yield quicker. Will these work in managed native forest? I like the sound of managed native forest, over plantation. Plantation always makes me think of slaves.
     
    #23 telecrag, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  24. Ziggy

    Ziggy Repreived Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re cutting the dead stuff, acc to a history of forestry in Vic I've been reading, the euc's from the '39 fires were still being harvested after WWII.

    EDIT: if the real value of the resource had been paid by the loggers this form of the industry would have died years ago. They've had a profit subsidy at taxpayer expense.
     
  25. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    But the same applies to any primary industry. The same thing gets said about irrigators, mines etc..

    At the end of the day they generate income for the country which is taxed, spent on employment and equipment within this country.
     
    #25 Snow Blowey, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  26. skifree

    skifree Sort of old & definitely grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    But the ratio of support for timber is out of wack compared to mining.

    Water is definately too cheap.

    In the USA the figures actually showed the tax payer was actually paying the logging companies to cut down the trees and sell them when all the supports were addded in. It is not as bad here but we do not sell the timber to the looging companies for nearly enough. No I do not know what the value should be.
     
  27. Ziggy

    Ziggy Repreived Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well as an eg. Gunns negotiated access to forest wood chips for the proposed mill at about a third of the rate that chips from their own plantations would cost.

    Any case, in my book you can't equitably have both free market principles and subsidies to partic industries or firms. By all means pursue social & env'tl objectives but not via adding profits to private operators.
     
  28. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    after the 2003 fires in the vic alps, the loggers were allowed in to quickly harvest burnt trees. anyone who drove through burnt bush could see that in many places, not all trees died. loggers were supposed to leave live trees and only take the dead stuff. but every logged area i saw was clear fell. the logging trucks were a menace on the local roads, driving like lunatics on narrow roads.

    in theory i think that harvesting dead trees was/is reasonable, but i think there was undue haste and insufficient scrutiny.
     
  29. The Bush Patrol

    The Bush Patrol Addicted

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    As a chippie I see both sides of the argument, but I fail to see the need for alpine lumber. Access is a drama,because of close growth rings a mega hard timber with constant need for chain sharpening for felling & cleaning, bluntens blades fast in the mill. As the timber climatises to the moist environment around the lower elevation mill the wing splits often cup/bow/aeroplane propeller & become unable to run through the thicknesser without massive waste over the jointer.
    Ok they are less likley to have heart shakes or felling shakes (small splits radiating out from the middle ),but apart from flooring & furniture making dont see the need for it. Apart from cost of kiln drying, I have done a few jobs with non kiln dried mountain lumbers due to architects insistence & after much objection have turned out to be a cuppy disaster. All farmers know that if you want a fence to last you source you timber locally as it has aclimatised to your area. So unless you are building a new gingerbread austrian chalet at your local resort I think its useless as a material. You can get the species result from warmer & lower climes & even go to non select grades or standard or high feature grades with minimal extra quantity. Just think what happens to the timber that the timber that the mill rejects as select grade & heaps that could be standard or HF which nobody is buying & they couldn't be bothered racking & bundling it for the kiln, just gets chipped as there is still demand for processed boards in hardwoods,chipboard,ply,LVL (laminated veneer lumber ).
     
  30. rootroot

    rootroot First Runs

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    mmmm, why bother regenerating? pave it and use the area as a car park for a ski resort.
     
  31. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG]
     
    #31 VSG, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  32. Ziggy

    Ziggy Repreived Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, there's a club field and rope tow up that way. Turn it into a resort for E Gippy residents.

    Straighten out and seal the Omeo Highway to increase tourist access.
     
  33. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Curra, the 2003 fires were comparatively much cooler fires. The reason that they burned so much was that they were in inaccessible country. Most of what we're talking about here burnt in just a few hours - it was a very hot, very intense fire. The areas that are being logged atm - were totally burnt - no tree survived. I saw a lot of it before logging commenced (we ignore road closed signs around here, we have to) Intense crowning. Where the fire wasn't so intense, they're not logging. I don't think any area that was burnt after Sat 7th is being logged - that was a much cooler fire.
     
    #33 teckel, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  34. PolePlant

    PolePlant Guest

    Yes please.
     
    #34 PolePlant, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  35. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    much of the 2003 fires were undoubtedly relatively cool, but other places were extremely fierce - Cobungra in particular was a hot spot.

    regeneration or not after a fire depends on tress species as well as fire intensity. Each type of eucalypt has its own means of dealing with fire, examples:
    -snow gums and mallee species resprout form the base.
    -mountain ash and alpine ash are easliy killed by fire but seeds germinate readily in the aftermath ( this is the situaiton with the alpine ash post-fire logging being done in the Bogong area).
    -many other species resprout from trunk and major branches.
     
  36. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    The area I'm talking about here is mountain ash - doesn't take much to kill it, as you say.
     
  37. Ziggy

    Ziggy Repreived Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes. Little insulating bark so the sapwood fries. After a cooler fire you see the epicormic growth; the trees look like a dark-skinned gentleman with a green velvet smoking jacket ;-} (OK, I'll change my meds).

    Regrowth after 2003 not far up the hill from Mt Beauty looks like Peppermint?
     
  38. skifree

    skifree Sort of old & definitely grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why remove biomass from a Conservation Area or National Park?

    Whoops, sorry forgot about profits.
     
  39. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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  40. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

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    I'm sure there's significant advantages in reducing erosion and ongoing nutrient replenishment of the soils in leaving the biomass in place. Probably a heap of other benefits to the environment as well but I'm no expert.

    But yeah not good for profits which almost always seem to trump the environment anyway...
     
  41. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nutrient loss, habitat loss (logs on the ground, hollows caused by falling branches), increased erosion risk.

    If the forest is managed for forestry and would have been logged anyway the I think it is appropriate to log post fire. However if the forest is being managed for conservation you'll degrade the forest and reduce biodiversity.
     
  42. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Too much biomass creates fuel for hot fires.
     
  43. Graeme

    Graeme First Runs Endless Winter

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    Very true IMO
    The question arising in this topic is, of course, whether the coupes in question are appropriate to be managed for forestry
     
    #43 Graeme, Apr 21, 2010
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  44. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Anthropocentric argument
     
    #44 Red_switch, Apr 21, 2010
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  45. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

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    Exactly. Don't like the heat then get out of the kitchen! [​IMG]
     
    #45 Go Native, Apr 21, 2010
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  46. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    No it's not. The critters get cooked in a hot fire. Ledbeaters Possum now on the most endangered list (You could count on one hand how many survived the fire)

    From http://leadbeaters.org.au/

    Biodiversity also suffers - just look at all the dead beech around here - they ain't coming back.
     
    #46 teckel, Apr 21, 2010
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  47. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

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    It truly is a wonder isn't teckel that the natural world survived at all prior to us humans intervening? [​IMG]
     
    #47 Go Native, Apr 21, 2010
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  48. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    So?

    As long as people avoid starting fires, I don't really see your point.

    Possums are ghey anyway, I like to kill 'em.
     
    #48 Red_switch, Apr 21, 2010
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  49. K10

    K10 Hard Yards

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    I think you made a spelling mistake [​IMG]

    should have been

    "Possums are grey... anyway, I like 'em" [​IMG]
     
    #49 K10, Apr 21, 2010
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  50. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ummm - lightning strikes cause fires. Aborigines' camp fires get out of control. Broken glass can cause fires. Electricity wires can start fires.
     
    #50 teckel, Apr 21, 2010
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