Just prior to Christmas 2015, the state government released for public comment its ‘Embracing the Climate Challenge: Tasmania’s draft climate change action plan 2016-2021’ (Draft Plan). However, as the TCT’s submission pointed out, the Draft Plan has major blind spots when it comes to forestry, native forest clearing for agriculture, population increase and management of biodiversity.
Practitioners from a range of disciplines and countries spoke about emerging threats and new technologies being developed and applied in the field of vertebrate pest management. Pest species and their associated management challenges discussed at the conference ranged from old foes including wild dogs, feral horses, feral cats, camels, goats, foxes, Indian mynas, starlings, pigs, deer, rabbits, carp, rats, wallabies and possums to new arrivals such as smooth newts in Victoria and black-spined toads.
In August 2012 the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, decided to list the ecological community ‘Giant kelp marine forests of south east Australia’, as endangered under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The listing recognises the severe decline, up to 98% in the case of one population, in the area of sea floor covered by giant kelp forests off Tasmania, which has been a cause of concern among scientists and conservationists for more than a decade.1 The original nomination in 2009, by Humane Society International, specified giant kelp forests in Tasmanian waters, but the listing also covers the occurrence of the community off Victoria and South Australia.
At a time when the rest of the world seems to be finally waking up to the significance of forest management in climate change policy, forest managers, including Tasmania’s, seem determined to turn a deaf ear. While the use of fossil fuels must be drastically reduced if we are to avert dangerous climate change (limiting global warming to less than 2oC), greenhouse gas emissions from misuse of land (especially deforestation, forest degradation and peat drainage) are so large that they, too, must be constrained if we are to succeed.
Tasmania’s climate is projected to change in the future. These changes will result from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted into the atmosphere and will continue to be emitted in coming years.