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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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bushwalking

Reseeding the Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash forests

There is no doubt that our fire seasons are getting longer and more intense and this is starting to have potentially landscape changing impacts. There is concern that Alpine Ash forests could be wiped out in some areas where fire comes in multiple waves before the recovering trees can set seed. Parts of north eastern Victoria have been burnt three times in a decade. Mountain Ash forests face similar threats.

It is tragic that fires are so frequent and intense that we face the prospect of seeing these vegetation communities collapse. There are many ways we must respond: acting decisively on climate change, and protecting these forests from wildfire and over logging. Aerial seeding programs also aim to help these forests survive.

Continue reading “Reseeding the Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash forests”

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. It provides habitat for threatened species such as the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls, Greater gliders and Long footed potoroos, and is a rare rainforest type where warm and cool temperate rainforest blend together in an ‘over lap’ assemblage.

There was a long campaign, led by Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and The Wilderness Society to see the Kuark protected. It had considerable success, and was scheduled to be fully protected under a Bill in parliament to include Kuark in the Errinundra National Park.

Then this summer happened. I watched in horror as parts of the legendary Errinundra Plateau burnt and the rainforests of Martins Creek were devastated. I hadn’t heard news of the Kuark until now.

Ed Hill led the campaign to protect the Kuark forest. He has been up there recently. This is his report.

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Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season

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.

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Fires and snow gums. To keep these forests we need less fire.

Fires are still burning out of control across much of the Australian High Country. Yet we are already well into the blame game, where some people and groups are blaming environmental activists and/ or The Greens party for ‘stopping’ fuel reduction burning and hence making the fires worse. While this is not true, this resonates with certain anti green and conservative demographics (check here for an alternative view of the conversation).

There is no doubt that fuel reduction burning has a role to play in how we manage forests and other landscapes. The problem is that it is often seen as a ‘one size fits all’ tool that will reduce fire intensity in all environments. But in reality, it works well in some ecosystems and is counter productive in others. This is a subtlety that is lost on the ‘fuel reduction is the answer’ boosters.

The argument that we need to increase fuel reduction burns in snow gum and true alpine environments is already caught up in the broader land management debate, and will continue in the coming months. So it’s worth taking a good look at what science says about the value of fuel reduction in our high mountain areas.

Continue reading “Fires and snow gums. To keep these forests we need less fire.”

A long solo walk. 660 km across the Alps.

The Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) is the premiere long distance mountain trail in Australia. It crosses the Victorian Alps from Walhalla to the NSW border, then passes through the Snowy Mountains before finishing in the ACT.

AAWT2Anthony Sharwood has just started the AAWT from the southern end. He is doing the 660 km trip solo, walking from Walhalla, Victoria to Tharwa, A.C.T. This trip is made more challenging by the fact that two sections of the track are currently closed because of bushfires.

Anthony has been posting images and updates as he goes.

You can follow his journey on twitter here.

Background info and links on the AAWT available here.

The Australian Alps Walking Track in winter

Mark Oates has made some great backcountry films. The following is an update about his most recent winter traverse of the Australian Alps Walking Track, which he did with his brother last winter. He will be uploading a ‘snap shot’ video of each day of the trip, starting today. Check the link for a daily update of mountain goodness.

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‘Save Kosci’ walk to finish next weekend

Since November 3, a group has been walking the 560 km from Sydney to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, to highlight the damage being caused by feral horses. The walk is nearing its end! Join the walkers on the final day – 9th December (or the 8th depending on weather forecast) – from Charlottes Pass or Thredbo to celebrate the end of the walk and add your voice to the call to reclaim Kosci from feral horses.

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The Great Tasmanian Traverse

This guided trip, which will happen over 39 days, is an epic journey that seeks to ‘traverse’ Tasmania on foot and raft from north to south. While sections are covered by road and light plane, it does include a long walk from the north coast all the way to Lake St Clair. It then heads into Frenchmans Cap, does 8 days on the mid and lower Franklin River, before flying to Melaleuca on the west coast and one final, extended walk along the South Coast Track.

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The ‘Save Kosci’ protest walk – come and hear more

You are invited to a presentation on the 30+ day, Camino-style, walk from Sydney to Kosciuszko to seek repeal of the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act and action on feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. The walk will begin on 3rd November. The sessions will happen in Sydney on September 13.

Continue reading “The ‘Save Kosci’ protest walk – come and hear more”

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