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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Tasmania

An update on the ecological costs of the 2019 Tasmania fires

Bushfires, which were started by lightning strikes, burnt large areas of Tasmania last summer.

There have been fears expressed by ecologists that large areas of fire sensitive vegetation have been impacted.

An initial desk top assessment carried out by researchers at the University of Tasmania suggested that the areas of these vegetation types affected was very small.

In March, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service updated their assessment, which also stated that only small areas of vegetation types that are rated ‘Extreme fire sensitive’ (containing components that will not recover from fire, such as rainforest with king billy pine, alpine conifer communities, alpine deciduous beech communities and rainforest with deciduous beech) and ‘very High fire sensitive’ communities (including alpine and subalpine heathland without conifers, rainforest without conifers, and mixed forest) had been affected.

Now, an additional assessment, by the Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA), adds further detail to our understanding of the impacts of this summer’s fires.

Continue reading “An update on the ecological costs of the 2019 Tasmania fires”

Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

There was a great turnout at the human sign event over the weekend to show opposition to the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington.

Check the video here.

For images, check the Respect The Mountain facebook page.

Background on the campaign available here.

IMAGE: Rob Blakers.

Public meeting on the kunanyi/ Mt Wellington cablecar

Tomorrow night (Tuesday April 15) the long awaited public meeting on the cable car proposal for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington will be held. Members of the Council, Wellington Park Trust and the Department of State Growth will be on hand to answer your questions. Let’s fill the place! Banners and placards are welcome.

7pm for 7.30pm at the City Hall – not the Town Hall! 56-63 Macquarie Street.

You can RSVP on Facebook

No sign of wilderness fire funding for World Heritage Areas

In recent years, wildfire has had devastating impacts on World Heritage Areas in Tasmania. The 2016 fires damaged fire sensitive areas and vegetation types, like Pencil Pines near Lake Mackenzie. Fires caused by dry lightning strikes are becoming more common since the year 2000. Yet resourcing for fighting fires in remote areas is not growing to keep up with greater fire threats.

The fires that happened this summer burnt more than 100,000 hectares, but thankfully (and based on initial estimates), it would appear that only very small areas of fire sensitive vegetation like Pencil Pine and King Billy Pine were destroyed. Innovative actions, like placing sprinklers to protect fire sensitive vegetation at Lake Rhona reduced the impacts. But it remains clear that fire fighters are under resourced to fight remote area fires. Despite sustained calls for additional resources, it would appear that the current commonwealth government isn’t coming to the party.

Continue reading “No sign of wilderness fire funding for World Heritage Areas”

Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’

We know that climate change is already impacting on Australia’s high country through longer and more intense fire seasons and increasingly erratic winter snow.

What is perhaps less obvious is the fact that emergency services are not adequately resourced to defend the mountains from worsening bushfire seasons.

This has been highlighted in the case of recent fires in Tasmania, where – even with interstate and international support – emergency services were not able to control fires in Tasmania’s world heritage areas over the summer of 2018/19. This had previously been the case in Tasmania in 2016, when precious areas of fire sensitive vegetation were destroyed. Additionally fires in the Victorian high country burnt some areas for the third time in 10 years, with the possibility of significant long term ecological impacts.

Now 23 of Australia’s most senior former emergency service bosses have come together in an unprecedented show of unity, calling on the Prime Minister to ‘get on with the job’ of reducing greenhouse gasses.

They also highlight the fact that Australia currently lacks the resources we need to fight wild fire effectively.

Continue reading “Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’”

‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

The long campaign against the plan to build a cable car up the face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington continues.

With the possibility that the developer might start test drilling at sites that would support cable car towers, local group Residents Opposed to the Cable Car have organised a number of events (check here for a recent symbolic action that was held on the mountain recently).

Continue reading “‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington”

Community protests start on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

Developers continue to push their controversial plan to build a cable car up the main face of kunanyi (also known as Mt Wellington), above Hobart. But community opposition to the plan also continues to grow.

The developer may start test drilling soon. As a result, the community is mobilising and held the first ‘on ground’ protests (there have previously been rallies, meetings, etc). Recently the residents group Respect the Mountain hosted a picnic at the site of the proposed base station for the cable car.

They report:

We had a ‘great picnic in the peoples park today. We marked out the exact size of the MWCC’s planned ‘cable car (bus)’, this is 78 people inside that area on the slope / fire break where they plan to build their ‘base station’. Great spot for a picnic. Dumb spot for a car park and massive ‘base station’.

There’s plenty more to come – check the Respect the Mountain page for updates and to get involved.

 

TAS fire update – and vegetation impact assessment

Bushfires have burnt more than 90,000 hectares of land in Tasmania this summer. The Gell River fire in the south west is still burning. There have been fears expressed that large areas of fire sensitive vegetation have been impacted. An initial desk top assessment carried out by researchers at the University of Tasmania suggested that the areas of these vegetation types affected was very small.

Now the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has provided an update on what types of vegetation was involved in the fires and the likely impacts on what they define as ‘Extreme fire sensitive communities’. Their assessment is that very small areas of these communities was impacted.

Continue reading “TAS fire update – and vegetation impact assessment”

Your mountain needs you

The campaign against the controversial proposal to build a cable car up the east face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, in Hobart, continues. It’s highly likely that this week the premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein, will sign off on the permit to allow Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) to begin drilling at 32 sites on the mountain. This means that work on the mountain could commence this month.

Local group Respect the Mountain – no cable car has issued a call for help at this pivotal moment in the campaign.

Continue reading “Your mountain needs you”

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