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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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environment

Deer hunters want more access to Victorian wilderness

There is currently a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria into the control of invasive animals on Crown land. It is due to report back in March 2017.

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A new road on Corn Hill?

Since 2008, the Mount Buller Mount Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board (MBMS ARMB) has been trying to build a Link Road between Mount Buller and Mount Stirling via Corn Hill. Mountain Journal has reported on this proposal.

In November 2015, the Planning Minister rejected the Link Road. And the Environment Minister stated “I don’t anticipate any further proposals of this nature.”

Now, Friends of Mt Stirling report:

Guess what ? We now have a new road across Corn Hill.

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Mt Stirling tree gets a nomination

If you’ve ever walked up Mt Stirling, its very hard to miss the ‘Stirling tree’ – a lone snow gum that stands towards the south peak of the mountain and is visible from the four wheel drive track that passes over the summit.

I often sit by the tree and never fail to be amazed by how many 4WD’s drive over the mountain, without the occupants ever stopping, let alone walking around. The views from Mt Stirling are superb, sitting in a huge ring of mountains that stretch from Mt Skene around to Howitt, all the way across to Buffalo Plateau. The tree draws your gaze and is a popular spot for many walkers as they wander around the summit area.

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New system for fuel reduction burns in Victoria

The Victorian government has announced changes to how fuel reduction burns (‘controlled burning’) will be carried out in the state.

Since the Black Saturday fires of 2009, public land managers have been seeking to burn 5% of public land each year. This has been criticised for being a very blunt management instrument for a complex problem. There are concerns that burning regimes have been inappropriate for some types of vegetation, causing ecological damage, and have not been able to reduce overall fire risk in the state.

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Defending the Jumbo Valley

The Jumbo Valley, located deep in the wilds of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, has long been revered for its spiritual significance and beauty. To the Ktunaxa Nation, it is known as Qat’muk, home of the grizzly bear spirit.

For decades, First Nations, conservationists, backcountry skiers and snowboarders have fought a proposed large-scale ski resort deep in the Jumbo valley. After 24 years of opposition, what more will it take to keep Jumbo wild for good?

Jumbo Wild is a beautiful film about the plan for – and the campaign against – this major development.

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Review: Mountain Ash: Fire, Logging and the Future of Victoria’s Giant Forests

David Lindenmayer is the renowned specialist on the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and the Mountain Ash forests that are their home. He has collaborated with other researchers to produce a book which looks at the possums future in light of fires and logging.

While it is expensive (almost $60) it is an incredibly important contribution to our knowledge about these forests. It is available from the CSIRO.

The following review was written by Alex Mullarky, and originally published on the Wild Melbourne website.

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Fuel reduction of limited value in reducing fire risk

Fuel reduction (also called controlled burning) is a key tool used by land managers to reduce the intensity of fires when they do occur. Its a simple theory: do a controlled, ‘cool’ burn through an area to reduce the amount of fuel on the forest floor.

In Victoria, there is an annual target, whereby public authorities need to try and burn 5% of public land each year. This has lead to widespread criticism that Parks are burning areas a long way from ‘assets’ (house, farms, etc). In effect, it seems that the target has become political rather than about reducing fire risk. There is also evidence that some fire regimes being imposed on some landscapes may be causing ecological harm or even potentially increasing fuel loads through changing vegetation structure.

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Vale Ern Mainka

Many people will know the work of Ern Mainka. His photography was hugely popular amongst nature enthusiasts, and I must have seen his images in hundreds of places over the years.

Apart from capturing our wild places so well, Ern played a significant role in raising awareness about the many threats posed to these places. Many of these landscapes are now protected, and Ern played a big part in many of these victories.

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Join the 2015/2016 Falls Creek Hawkweed Volunteer Program

Native to Europe, Hawkweeds have recently become naturalised on mainland Australia.

Hawkweeds are highly invasive and spread quickly via runners and roots, forming dense mats inhibiting and outcompeting native vegetation. They can cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas, and are considered a significant threat to the Victorian Alps if not eradicated early.

Participating in volunteer surveys is a great way to help protect the Victorian Alps from this dangerous weed, as well as a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the magnificent alpine environment during the green summer months.

Continue reading “Join the 2015/2016 Falls Creek Hawkweed Volunteer Program”

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