This summer it was all about fires. Then, as the mountains started to open up and the weather cooled down, along came the Coronavirus, and things are locked down again.
Here is the monthly summary of key stories that have been featured on Mountain Journal. Enjoy.
Most viewed stories
- Backcountry film festival (sadly cancelled)
- Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind. (here)
- The Big 3: best backcountry winter trips (here)
- Side country stash at Hotham (here)
New stories for March
Stay safe. Be well. Be kind
Resources for staying inspired during the COVID-19 lock in.
Supporting mountain businesses during C-19.
An interview with Vicki Adams
Vicki recently helped establish the group Outdoors People for Climate Action. This interview covers what motivates her (which includes walking the length of the Australia Alps Walking Track).
Environment and activism
Australia’s Environment Report – focus on the Alps
The annual Australia’s Environment Report summarises a large number of observations on the trajectory of our natural resources and ecosystems. This article covers the impacts on alpine areas.
Logging threatens Snobs Creek
Industrial scale clear-fell logging is taking place in the Snobs Creek Valley. The Central Highlands are the most heavily logged area in Australia. The highly biodiverse ecosystem of mountain and alpine ash in the Rubicon State Forest has been virtually logged-out.
Energy experts call for a halt on the Snowy 2.0 hydro project.
Taking action on climate in Victoria
The Andrews government must soon make its decision on the state’s first Emissions Reduction Targets for 20205 and ’30.
You can support a quick action and encourage the government to listen to the science.
Introducing Outdoors People for Climate Action
A new climate action group for outdoors people (as in educators, guides and enthusiasts).
Fast tracking development in Tasmania’s wilderness
The ongoing attempts by the Tasmanian government to encourage commercial developments in the state’s national parks and wilderness areas continues.
Kuark forest after the fires
The old growth forest of Kuark is (I can’t bring myself to say ‘was’) a jewel in the wild landscape of East Gippsland.
Ed Hill led the campaign to protect the Kuark forest. He has been up there recently. This is his report.
Inquiry into this summer’s fires
This summer’s fires had a devastating impact on the environment and economies of the Victorian, NSW and ACT mountains.
Now, the Victorian government, through the Inspector-General for Emergency Management or IGEM, is holding an inquiry into ‘Victoria’s preparedness for and response to the 2019-20 fire season’. You can make a submission to this process.
Fire threat to the King Billy Pine
Tasmania is home to a treasure trove of ancient vegetation that emerged when Australia was part of the Gondwanda super continent. Most of the relict vegetation is not fire adapted (fire being a relatively recent arrival to Australia compared to Gondwanaland). Widespread wildfires in early 2016 caused devastating damage across large areas of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, including significant sections of vegetation which is not fire adapted, such as Pencil Pine forests.
This report highlights the threat posed to King Billy Pines.
Global warming drove the severity of this summer’s fires
A ground-breaking report has shown that climate change was a ‘massive factor’ in the extreme fire conditions that devastated Australia this summer.
Do we need a new remote area fire fighting force?
A proposal for a new team whose job would be to fight fires in remote mountain areas.
What are the ecological costs of this summer’s fires?
The start of some assement of the impacts of this summers fire on the mountains of VIC, NSW and the ACT.
Fires and snow gums – to keep these forests we need less fire
An important read given the demands that more fuel reduction burning be carried out: The take home message seems to be that if we can reduce the frequency of fire at a landscape level in these ecosystems through the juvenile ‘danger’ period when there is a lot of vigorous re-growth, they become less fire prone after a period of 14 to 28 years. Older forests should be left alone rather than burnt to reduce fuel load, and younger forests should be encouraged to mature rather than being treated with fire to keep them permanently in a juvenile/ more flammable stage in their growth.
Sense of place
Walking the mountains of home
Community members from Warburton are attempting to stop the proposed logging coupes on and surrounding Mt Bride.
They say that “logging this area will reduce water security as the proposed coupes are within water catchment areas and it has long been recognised that logging has a negative impact on water yield”. The mountain has great value to many locals for a range of reasons.
To highlight community concern about the imminent logging plans, they organised a walk up the mountain which is open to all interested people.