Bushfires in Victoria: Natural sequence hydrology approach

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sheilan
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Bushfires in Victoria: Natural sequence hydrology approach

Postby sheilan » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:33 am

I am a great admirer of Peter Andrew’s methods, theory and practice as described in his book. Here is my review at http://candobetter.org/node/975
I have mentioned Peter Andrews in the article I discuss below (http://candobetter.org/node/1062) and could well have written the article around his book – but - I was hoping Peter himself might respond to this post and perhaps write an article for candobetter.org.

At http://candobetter.org/ We have also engaged with forest protection advocates and people involved in fire-fighting and forest management (generally keeping their anonymity for obvious reasons) in discussing the recent Victorian Bushfires and we have published information which is not available elsewhere about how the most managed landscapes (logged forests, thinned eucalypt forests, burned-off land and plantations) were the most affected in the fires, contrary to what appears to be damage control assertions backed by some industries on the mainstream media.

I am not looking to engage in controversy here about the bushfires; I am writing this to introduce the specific suggestions which I have written about here: http://candobetter.org/node/1062, that we might attempt to repair and consolidate the natural forest hydrology in order to mitigate micro and local climate change and rainfall and water storage as well as bushfire risk. I have even suggested that we could recycle the Gunnamatta outfall in Victoria to irrigate (to whatever degree possible and could be regional or local etc) strategic forests (There are 190 GL of urban run-off available that go out to sea and cause enormous complaint at the outlet).

Objections I have received include an erroneous assumption that I am suggesting piping water over the Great Australian Divide; I was thinking more of hydrating the area where the most recent bushfires had attacked, with view to consolidating natural hydrology, microclimate and aiming to change the composition of the forests to promote wetter forest and potentially wetter local climate. We have a State government which thinks nothing of enclosing, pumping and piping water all over the place, anyway, and which is considerably interfering in natural hydrology to the detriment of landholders, animals, trees, and the whole state, IMHO. Also, we are currently diverting water to irrigate land for grain crops, where evaporation is huge.

Another objection communicated to me was that the research material I cited was about tropical rainforests; I don't think this is a substantial objection, since I am talking about how opening any forest will dry it. Also the pattern of severest fires reinforces my position. I intend to write a new article soon, based on learning from this article.

Note that some people may not agree with all the material on our website. We have numerous contributors, some international.

I am an environmental sociologist and most recently edited, Sheila Newman, Ed., The Final Energy Crisis, Pluto Press, UK, 2008 which is a collection of scientific and political articles about the viability of new technologies, analysis of basis of economic growth, and the outlook for different countries within the fossil fuel decline paradigm. There is also a chapter called, “Peak Soil”.

brettmtl
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raindance

Postby brettmtl » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:06 pm

Hi Sheila,

Welcome

Hallelujah, finally someone is talking some sense.

I thought it was common sense that our forest management is to blame for these fires. Cutting rainforest and wet schlerophyll forest and only reseeding with eucalypts is asking for trouble.

I like some of your ideas, but getting the moisture to these soils could be a lot cheaper than a pipeline.

On Saturday 28/2 at the Living Awake festival in Warranwood, about 150 people did a half hour rain dance and holding the intention for rain.

Two days later we have had our first real down pour for the year and it looks like it will rain on and off all week, coincidence you might say.

On Sat the 31st of Jan about 40 people at a friend's engagement did a rain dance and 2 days later it rained, but only for around 30 minutes.

I have had similar thoughts and views regarding logging drying out our mountains and waterways and yes scientifically it is true, but I now believe that my thoughts and your thoughts are also drying out this country.

I ask you to please and anyone who reads this to imagine, feel rain on your skin, listen for it on a tin roof, hear the frogs croaking in the rain puddles, all the sensations, wet mud between the toes, anything that connects with the sensation of rain.

It is through the intention and focus of rain that will create more rain

Stay focused and have fun

Brett

duane
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Postby duane » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:34 pm

Shiela

Welcome to the NSF forum.

Your contribution is a most welcome addition.

I have read your excellent critique on Peter's book BFTB and it is good to see that you have distilled many of the core principles.

I also enjoyed your description of Peter's work and Bill Mollison's.

The fires in Victoria, will further the dry, desperate situation currently in Victoria. I believe, that over 1 million hectares have been burnt , much of it in the catchments.

This burning will mean that there will be a possibility that rain will not fall in these 'hot' and exposed areas for another 8-10 years...there being no plants to cool the landscape.

After the fires, mostly, fire resistant plants will return...ready for the next fire cycle. But other plants will come to repair the damaged system. These are the ones outlawed by councils, governments and others....they are the primary colonisers or restorers. Others call them WEEDS.

Chemical companies, weed inspectors will be out in force....killing off the very plants needed to stabilise the damaged, scortched earth.

We need biodiversity in every plant form and we need to reinstate the hydrology that once keep this landscape cool allowing a fire cycle to occur once in 300 years.

Today we have drained, dried, dessicated our landscape and removed 95% of its original biodiversity from the time of settlement. In its place we have petrol tankers waiting to explode.

We need to declare a STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY. 'ROME IS ALREADY BURNING'.

WE need a National Task Force with special powers to deal with our current situation. Floods in Queensland will leave the landcape bereft of all the fertilty. It will now be headed for Lake Eyre and not spread and trapped across the landscape as it once was.

Salinity is claiming 1 football field an hour in WA...24/7 52 weeks a year.
SA is desperately dry yet more deep drainage channels are being dug to control salinity. All they are doing is draining whatever water is in the system to the sea. Meaning SA will get drier and hotter and this will further exacerbate the dry conditions in Victoria.

The clock has already gone past midnight. We are on the downhill slippery slope to oblivion.

As a Nation we need to rise up as ONE and demand a STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY. The situation is more dire than the call to arms for WW11.

If we lose this war.......

sheilan
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Postby sheilan » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:43 pm

Thank you Duane. I have to agree that I share your fears about huge gaps between rains, until the state simply burns to a crisp - and I share your hope.

I republished your article here https://candobetter.org/node/1118

I must read Peter's new book - I didn't realise there was one. (Not a great tv watcher - although I have watched all his videos.)

Sheila N

sheilan
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To Brett re rain-dancing

Postby sheilan » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:46 pm

Hi Brett,
Thanks for the thoughts.
I like dancing but tend to feel that the trees are the ones that make the rain. :?
Otherwise we agree, of course.

Sheila N

novaris
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Postby novaris » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:19 am

duane wrote:SA is desperately dry yet more deep drainage channels are being dug to control salinity. All they are doing is draining whatever water is in the system to the sea. Meaning SA will get drier and hotter and this will further exacerbate the dry conditions in Victoria.
One ray of hope

Duane I am confident you are aware of Salisbury in S.A. but for those that may not be the link is below. I doubt you could burn them out :wink:

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/stor ... 62,00.html
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duane
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Postby duane » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:00 am

Peter showed this acquifer storage model to the city of Adelaide over 30 years ago...good to see its never too late.

novaris
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Postby novaris » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:59 am

Yes Salisbury started work on their system about then, I guessed that Peters work was constitutional, though I have not seen a direct reference.

Regarding the fire problem how do we go about dealing with articles like the following?
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs. ... enDocument
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duane
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Postby duane » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:49 am

Fire begets fire begets fire.

Fire as a management tool has devastating effects as we have witnessed.

As I said in an earlier post I believe the options we have are few:

*plant broad bands of fire resistant plants
*rehydrate the landscape with the assistance of all plants
*mulch broad bands of firebreaks on the contours

There is clearly only one outcome that can come from continual burning:
If you burn it this year, next year and the year after that and then again and again...the landscape will ALL turn to desert and then we will be safe from fire.

Who wants to live in the Victorian desert.....??

sheilan
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Gottleibsen's pyromaniac comments

Postby sheilan » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:34 pm

Novaris wrote:

"Regarding the fire problem how do we go about dealing with articles like the following?
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs. ... enDocument"

All we can do is contradict them by posting replies to them but also by publishing contrary articles, describing what they are saying and accusing them of unsupported bias. This is what we do on http://candobetter.org
We are well aware that our main enemy is the corporate press, which runs the country and the economy and says who has a chance of being elected and who has not.

I posted this on Gottleibsen's site:

"Where is your evidence of the being a huge fuel pile up? My information is that the old growth did the best in the fires and the forests that burned like mad were plantations, logged and woodchipped ones, and those with lots of tracks and fire breaks. That is, the forests managed in the way you are laying down the law about - without evidence - as far as I can see - were the ones that fare the worst. See http://candobetter.org/node/1069

Just consider that being opinionated here without examining what really happened could see Victoria turned into a desert over the next few years just due to continuing vegetation removal, Alan, and be a bit more responsible."

and gave my name and described myself as 'Environmental Sociologist'.

I suggest that as many people as can do similarly and I also invite you to post comments and articles with your opinions on bushfires, and all other NSF, and possibly other opinions. Also, publicise by sending around to your email contacts.

novaris
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Postby novaris » Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:52 am

I did post a reply but of course they did not publish it :x
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sheilan
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Write a statement for candobetter

Postby sheilan » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:18 am

Novaris,

James Sinnamon, the owner of candobetter.org , often documents where comments or letters to the editor were knocked back or where the press failed to cover some candidates for elections. We have had some very interesting articles based on this. It is a way of exposing the bias of the press, which I feel is at the base of the terrible confusion that reigns in this country over all environmental degradation that is making money for someone.

I could use a copy or a description of what you wrote and of what I have written, simply to describe how Gottleibsen has screened out valid criticism. It doesn't have to go any further than that; just to document what has happened and that another point of view is being excluded.

It would be even better if a number of people from this forum were to do the same thing.

duane
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Postby duane » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:09 pm

One of the commonest criticisms of promoting solutions is to say that simple solutions dont cover the complexity.

Depending on the target audience the KISS principle seems universal especially to pollies.

Solutions need to be simple but when looked at holistically, systemically this is what complexity is all about.

This is what a colleague wrote to me recently about solutions for the management of the fire regimes:

1. Restoring the natural hydrology in our landscapes and climate to secure the productivity and bio-diversity of both our natural and introduced bio-systems.
2. Restoring the natural microbial nutrient uptake and cycling dynamics that enabled highly productive and diverse systems to evolve on very nutrient defficient sandy soils we and on which we will increasingly need to depend on to secure food essentials with the decline in oil based fertilizers.
3. Promoting Natural Sequence and Soil Carbon Farming as practical profitable tools in restoring the 'in soils reservoir' capacity, nutrient dynamics, resilience and health of our natural and introduced bio-systems and our water, food, bio-material and energy security.

These are positive things we CAN effect simply, quickly and cost effectively, I believe.

novaris
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Re: Write a statement for candobetter

Postby novaris » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:36 pm

sheilan wrote:Novaris,

James Sinnamon, the owner of candobetter.org , often documents where comments or letters to the editor were knocked back or where the press failed to cover some candidates for elections. We have had some very interesting articles based on this. It is a way of exposing the bias of the press, which I feel is at the base of the terrible confusion that reigns in this country over all environmental degradation that is making money for someone.

I could use a copy or a description of what you wrote and of what I have written, simply to describe how Gottleibsen has screened out valid criticism. It doesn't have to go any further than that; just to document what has happened and that another point of view is being excluded.

It would be even better if a number of people from this forum were to do the same thing.
Basically I commented that if the royal commissian does it's job properly he should not be too sure that the results would be as he expects. I then referred him to the info from Duane on this website an to yours on candobetter.org. Feel free to mention this in the section you mentioned.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.

ColinJEly
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Postby ColinJEly » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:11 pm

A point to take note of regarding hydrating the landscape; if you are down in Melbourne and go to the Dandenong Ranges National Park, their is a walk straight up the hill from the entrance around a gully. One side of the gully is cool temperate rainforest and the other is dry sclerophyl forest. Obviously one side is shaded most of the day and the other gets the hot afternoon sun, I can't imagine one side has been burnt any more or less than the other?


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