Mountain Journal has previously written about the die back of eucalypts that has been occurring on the Monaro tablelands on the eastern side of the Snowy Mountains.

The dieback has affected a massive area, leaving a sea of “dead, standing trees” across the tablelands.

No one is, as yet, certain about the causes. It has been suggested that climate change is an underlying cause because background warming may have helped the spread of the weevils and stress on the ribbon gum trees that have died.

This piece from Bill Brown of the ABC quotes traditional owners:

Aboriginal custodians say a massive 2,000 square kilometres of eucalyptus viminalis, known as Manna Gum or Ribbon Gum, that has died on the Monaro Plains in New South Wales is the result of a lack of traditional burning practices.

Aileen Blackburn, a Ngarigo traditional custodian, points to a lack of traditional low-intensity burning as practised by Aboriginal people for thousands of years until European settlement.

“That would be one of the contributing factors and it would be a big contributing factor,” she said.

According to the story, the NSW Government recently announced funding of $499,460 over a 10-year period for Greening Australia and the CSIRO to work on a recovery strategy.

The project will involve seed collection and planting trials in a search for resilient species as well as traditional Aboriginal burning trials on Travelling Stock Reserves to evaluate the outcomes upon remnant species.

Greening Australia project co-ordinator Nicki Taws said it was hoped the traditional burning trials would result in stimulation of species recovery.

Forest scientist and advocate for ‘firestick ecology‘ Vic Jurskis welcomed the proposed traditional burning trials.

“Chronic eucalypt decline is happening all over Australia and it’s a consequence of a lack of burning,” he said.

“It is important for Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people to re-establish knowledge.”