Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 161
I couldn’t help feeling worried, looking into it’s small eyes seen through a camera’s lense. A cute and curious pademelon, checking out one of our fauna cameras. (Filmed close to the base of my tree). But all I could think of was the sound of gun-fire I’d heard over and over again the other night. All I could think is that I hope they didn’t spot her. I hope she didn’t hop out into the brightness of their lights. I hope she didnt make the fatal mistake of wandering into a clearfell.
You might have been wondering when I wrote about the animal shootings that happen here, why do they do it? Is it for food? Sport? Population control? No. . Is it for economic gain for the forestry industry? Yes. After clearfelling and burning the native forest (forcing animals out of their homes and killing countless more in the process) the industry comes back in for another round of destruciton.
Every seedling that sprouts up through the ashes of a clearfell is, in the eyes of the forestry industry, money. Each one represents a tree of the future, to be chopped down and sold to make money in about 80 years time. And since, in the eyes of Forestry, each one is their property, I guess they feel the right to defend them at gun-point.
“Forestry Tasmania conducts animal culling operations in State forests to control the effects of mammal browsing on tree seedlings. Brushtail possums, Bennets wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons (rufous wallabies) are trapped and shot under permit for this purpose” (State of the Environment Report 2009)
It seems like a cruel trap for the poor pademelons. The industry has created an occurance that is unusual in the natural forest, a entire field of sprouting seedlings. The pademelons probably can’t believe their luck when they stumble across such a sight while hoping through the forest. And quickly settle in to have a good hearty meal. In the natural world, Pademelons munching on newly growing trees wouldn’t be a problem. There is a balance to the forest, so that if some young plants get eaten, there are others that will survive and grow to be old trees. But the world of Forestry Tasmania is not like the natural world.
In one year, by FT’s estimates over 15,000 “coupe visits” (as they called it) occured. Based on Forestry Tasmaina’s documentation almost 18,000 native animals are culled during a three month period. The slaughter of these animals is what Forestry Tasmania call “browsing managment” and its purpose is to ensure a lucrative crop of regrowth from which they can make money in the years to come. In the natural cycle of the forest animals do not need to die on this large scale in order for the forest to regenerate.
As I try to sleep on the killing nights, I think about the irony of the words that the industry use to frame the debate around forests. Everyone is talking about “peace” in the forest. But what they are referring to is us, those who care about the forest. That somehow when we try to take a stand to protect these ecosystems we are creating conflict. They can twist and obscure the meaning of the word “peace” all they like, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. As I sit quietly in my tree and listen to the sounds of gunfire; it’s like a war zone out there. Search lights flashing across the sky, gun shots being fired. There is no peace in the forest, and it isn’t becuase I am sitting in this tree, and it isn’t becuase people reading this blog are signing the cyber action. Its because the industry has refused a cease-fire. They have continued to kill and destroy everyday while the negotations have continued.
I hope that one day soon there will be peace in these forests.