Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A last Eden?

I have just come back from 2 1/2 weeks in tropical north Queensland (hence no postings). It is a remarkable area and I intend to blog some entries on places worth staying, things worth doing, and some material on birds and wildlife I saw.

We stayed on the Atherton Tablelands and the Daintree, little snippets of rainforest. Years of logging and then greed and stupidity on the part of a right wing conservative state government in subdividing what would otherwise be world heritage rainforest. The Daintree consists of ancient remnants of Gondwana rainforest. As Gondwana broke up, Australia moved north and became more arid (hence all of the Eucalypt forest, marspials who can slow gestation in response to rainfall, etc) and Antarctica moved south and froze.

The Daintree should be protected at all costs, and it is lamentable so see the results of failed attempts to farm fruit, with weeds and introduced fruit trees where rainforest should be. Oh for the money to buy up such a plot (got a spare 2.4mil?) and regenerate it.

All that being said, rainforest contracts in arid conditions. As temperatures warm anthropogenically, rainforest suffers, becomes more suseptible to fire, etc. It may not matter how much forest is protected if we don't act to save the entire ecosphere by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I saw a fair bit of damage from two tropical cyclones. Forest can recover from this. Will it recover from us?

I can highly recommend a visit to this area for the birder, wildlife buff, etc...

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