Most of Australia’s High Country is now protected in parks. While there are significant pressures on many of these – for instance plans for a major expansion of commercial development in Kosciuszko national park, and tourism development in wild areas in lutruwita/ Tasmania – there is also the existential threat posed by climate change.
On a day to day basis our parks are generally underfunded and so the Parks Services struggle to deal with invasive species and the impacts of tourism. We need to increase funding across the board for our parks services.
There are also many options to directly support the ecological integrity of our mountain areas through hands on volunteer work. As author Alice Walker puts it nicely, ‘Activism is my rent for living on the planet’, and there are many ways to get involved in hands on efforts in and around the Alps. Here are a few ideas.
If you see it, report it
There are two enormous threats to the viability of Snow Gum woodlands across the Australian Alps: dieback and climate change driven fires.
If you see local loss of Snow Gum forests due to wildfire, please log it here.
If you see death of individual Snow Gum trees due to dieback, please report it here.
Dieback of snow gums caused by native Phoracantha beetles is spreading across the Victorian Alps. Previously this has been a problem primarily in the Snowy Mountains, but it is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Victorian high country. Although the beetle is native, climate change appears to be playing a role in the spread of the dieback.
The report An Icon at Risk highlights the many threats posed to the Alps, including fire and dieback. It can be read here.
There is also a letter to the VIC environment minister, asking her to respond to the report, available here.
TOP IMAGE: damage caused by dieback
LOWER IMAGE: This is what localised loss of snow gums due to repeat fire looks like
Get active on climate
If you don’t already, join and support a climate action group. Without meaningful action on climate change, the impacts on the Alps will continue. Here’s a few ideas:
Protect Our Winters Australia
Outdoors People for Climate Action
School Strike 4 Climate Action
Friends of the Earth
Alpine advocacy groups
Alpine parks need additional funding. The Victorian National Parks Association is campaigning for additional funding. Their website is here.
The Snowy Mountains are threatened by the NSW government’s unwillingness to act to reduce the numbers of feral horses in the Kosciuzko national park. Reclaim Kosci is leading the campaign to have horse numbers reduced.
The Snowies are also threatened by the Snowy 2.0 hydro scheme and massive new tourism developments.
Commercial development threatens a growing number of areas in lutruwita/ Tasmania.
Check Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access.
Get active in a ‘Friends’ Group or program
These groups to practical work in the Victorian High Country.
Friends of Baw Baw
Friends of Bogong
Friends of the Cobberas
Friends of the Mitta Mitta
Benambra Dinner Plain Omeo Landcare
Parks Victoria runs a volunteer program to eradicate Hawkweed from the Falls Creek and Alpine National Park, a highly invasive weed which out competes natural vegetation.
Conservation Volunteers runs many bushfire recovery programs. Find out more here.
This is just a start – please send me details on the groups and projects I have missed. Cam.firstname.lastname@example.org