Letter to the editor: value the forest

VALUE THE FOREST

There is a strong push from vested interests to prevent the establishment of a Regional and National Park in what is currently the Wombat State Forest, despite the fact that there are huge tracts of land currently available for forestry, mining and 'recreational' activities – these areas have already had their biodiversity and ecosystems destroyed from past logging and without decades of rehabilitation will never recover.

These forests are not simply resources that we can disturb and plunder at will without permanent damage being inflicted.

The fire problems that we now experience are a direct result of interference in the forest systems. Natural old growth native forest does not burn with the intensity of disturbed and weed infested re-growth.

The severity of bush fires is of our own making.

The removal of old trees providing safe habitat, the destructive activities of mining and timber collectors and the disruption provided by trail bikes and other road vehicles off-road will ultimately destroy the delicate eco-systems built since logging ceased.

Any argument to the contrary defies the science.

Joni Mitchell in her lament for lost natural environment sang “you don't know what you've got til its gone”, but it could be that for many of us this may not be the case.

If you are one who believes our natural heritage and ecosystems do not need protection, I urge you to go into a pristine forest and experience it.

If you're not sure where to find it here's a clue, it won't include mining, off-road vehicles and chain saws - compared to a whole forest system with all the flora and fauna intact, entering a 'recreational area' is like being in a dead zone.

Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation – do we really want to contribute to that?

We have one major party in Victoria (and indeed nationally) who is actually prepared to risk their vote to help the environment, and one who is prepared to sell our future for the short term electoral gain.

Please make the decent choice and allow just a small proportion of our forest to recover and thrive, not for you, but for our descendents. We only have one chance at this, extinction is forever. 

- John Mayger