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Pressures on Australian Rain-forests

  • Ian Douglas (a1)

Extract

Australian rain-forests range from tropical to temperate types and offer a great variety of habitats for diverse life-forms. Early colonial descriptions of the rain-forests saw them as a source of timber and an indicator of fertile land. In the nineteenth century, rain-forests were cleared rapidly, without the true nature of their ecosystems being understood. However, at the peak of the period of rain-forest logging and clearance, the National Parks concept began to influence Australia, and National Parks were established in New South Wales and Queensland, starting in 1879. Much of the land cleared from rain-forest is now of little agricultural value, but the exploitation of the rain-forest continues. Forestry policies are directed primarily at increased timber production, and many local communities depend on continued access to rain-forest logging areas for their survival.

The debate on the future of Australia's rain-forests has been heightened by the April 1974 Forwood Conference on the development of forestry and wood-based industries. The Conference wisely recommended multiple-use of rain-forests, and the presservation of representative rain-forest sites, as standard forestry policy; but conservation groups are not satisfied that values other than timber production will be given sufficient weight. More thorough consideration of all the factors involved in environmental management is needed for the successful planning of the use of Australia's rain-forest lands.

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Pressures on Australian Rain-forests

  • Ian Douglas (a1)

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