Selective science and more regulation won’t solve climate change

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Selective science and more regulation won’t solve climate change
Monday, 11 Mar 2019

A report by a group of ecological scientists calling for more legislation to reduce land clearing won’t solve climate change because it takes a narrow view of the science and fails to acknowledge the realities on the ground.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said farmers, as the true environmentalists’, are intrinsically concerned about climate variability. 

“Farmers work on the land day-in day-out. It’s their livelihood and it feeds millions of Australians every day, which is why agriculture is already working very hard in this area,” he said. 

“Calls for governments at all levels to pass yet more restrictive vegetation management laws lacks perspective.

“Queensland farmers are crying out for workable solutions to sustainably manage the landscape, not more regulation and red tape that works against society, industry, and our land’s unique biodiversity. The statement by the Ecological Society of Australia on land clearing fails to acknowledge the reality or the broader scientific picture.

“Cattle producers are simply not clearing vast quantities of land to raise livestock but selectively manage their land, similar to the way Indigenous Australians have been doing for thousands of years, encouraging healthy regrowth and a balance between the different types of vegetation that are more representative of pre-settlement times. 

“Farmers know that where management of the land is taken away from the people who understand it the most, feral pests and plants thrive, increasing the risks of wildfire with greater fuel loads.

“Queensland already has very strict laws in place that limit what farmers can and can’t do on their own land with harsh penalties for non-compliance.

“Only a tiny proportion of Queensland’s remnant vegetation – 0.05% – could potentially be prepared for agriculture.”

Mr Guerin said that there was currently no consensus on what constitutes a healthy landscape, or the best balance to most sustainably providing high quality, affordable food for the Australian population.

“Therefore, we have no scientific agreement on what we’re trying to manage towards,” he said.

“We saw wildfires in Central Queensland at the end of 2018 that resulted in the loss of over 520,000 hectares and killed millions of wild animals. These fires were worse than they should have been because the current laws don’t allow producers to manage fuel loads on their properties or clear adequate fire breaks.

“We need a well thought through approach to land management that actually benefits the very land we’re trying to manage, not calls for more legislation from people who are not managing the reality on the ground.”

The Royal Society of Queensland, along with AgForce and NRM Regions Queensland, are hosting a policy summit in May 2019 which will gather scientists and policy makers in Brisbane to look at the current gaps in regional planning and help preserve and build our natural capital.

Mr Guerin said this would be a great opportunity for all parties to work together towards finding real solutions.

Media Contacts: David Vogler 0418 733 102 | Hannah Leu 0427 626 853

Selective science and more regulation won’t solve climate change

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