Savanna burning reduction rejected

Savanna burning reduction rejected

07June 2008

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A north Australian ecologist is rejecting calls for major reductions in savanna burning.

The Northern Territory Government released a discussion paper on climate change issues this week which highlights savanna burning as the largest source of the Territory’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Bushfires Council spokesman Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith says the deliberate lighting of fires by land managers will always play a key role in preventing destructive wildfire.

Dr Smith says preventative burning of native vegetation is also beginning to provide new business for Indigenous communities who are cashing in on companies wishing to offset their carbon emissions.

“Well you are going to have to do some prescribed burning to try to reduce wildfire,” he said.

“So it’s not an issue of saying you are going to eliminate fire from the landscape.

“The only way it can be sensibly done is getting in early, setting up strategic breaks, that’s how you would overall reduce the amount of wildfire occurring.

“The Western Arnhem Land Project, they have done it, they are doing it and it’s working very well.”

Dr Russell-Smith says there is nothing of significance from the paper to recommend to the Commonwealth Government.

“The national agenda is moving very fast,” he said.

“Both the Commonwealth Government’s Green Paper on Climate Change and Garnault’s interim report are due out in June this year. It’s already June.

“How is this policy document now, for the Northern Territory, going to intersect meaningful and credibility with that national agenda.”

Public submissions to the Government’s discussion paper on climate change issues close on Friday July 4.


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