Fire in the wilderness

Fire in the wilderness

The bushfire situation in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) has worsened significantly in the last 40 years. In the early 1980s, malicious and spiteful lighting of fires was rampant, particularly along the Lyell Highway, although this human malevolence seems to have largely abated. Accidental ignitions from campfires and other human folly require vigilant controls, but they are not the most significant threat. Since the early 2000s fires started by dry lightning have become the most significant concern.

Planning Reform November 2014

The state government recently released a discussion paper ‘Reforming Tasmania’s Planning System: a position paper on the Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendments Bill 2014’ to selected stakeholders requesting their comments. The Planning Position Paper includes numerous proposals – I estimate more than half – which were not mentioned in the Liberals’ election policy on planning. Other included proposals are justified as being delivery of  a ‘Fairer, Faster, Cheaper and Simpler Planning System’ but the rationale is less than convincing.

Winners and losers in a Tasmanian suburb

Several related wildlife themes have surfaced in the recent past: ways in which our cities and suburbs turn some animal species into winners or losers (Low 2002); a trend for some species to adapt to habitat or landscape-scale changes (TPC 2010) and how landowners might best manage the major problem of browser impacts (Greening Australia 2003). Are we creating winners and losers by appropriating wildlife habitat? What is the current position? The Hobart suburb of Fern Tree may be an instructive example here.