Sunday, April 03, 2011

parks victoria what went wrong?

I was called to an urgent meeting today of local community members, angry about the latest clearing works undertaken by Parks Victoria along ZigZag Road in Belgrave South.It's an area that is environmentally sensitive and contains endangered orchids.

After the works on Nation Road, Selby which wreaked havoc on the local environment, community members, friends of & landcare groups and local ecologists met with Parks Victoria personnel to talk about an agreed method of fuel reduction. Parks Victoria committed to do future work sensitively and without heavy equipment.

Unfortunately the reality of what happened was a long way from what was agreed. Heavy equipment has reduced the vegetation to bare dirt and compacted soil, creating enormous opportunities for weeds to overtake what was once a good quality patch of vegetation. Habitat trees were cut down, senseless in terms of bushfire prevention, frustrating locals who work hard to ensure they remain to provide homes for our hollow dependant fauna.

Volunteers have spent countless hours improving the environment in this area and were devastated to see their good work cleared to dirt and I share their frustration.

It takes at least 120 years for a tree to develop hollows like this one, the loss of habitat trees has a huge impact on our hollow dependant fauna.

It was a shocking site, habitat trees like the one cut down wont be readily replaced, good quality vegetation, renowned for its orchids scraped back to bare dirt. After assurances by Parks Victoria that equipment like this wont be used in the future, it's very disappointing to see clear evidence of caterpillar tracks across the landscape.

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