February 8th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Old-growth forests and wildfires

COMMENT: Iraq's last chance to avert war

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard turns eyes to NSW poll

HIGH COURT: A further improvement in the High Court

STRAWS IN THE WIND: False Dawn / Iraq another Vietnam? / UN: ideal and reality

AGRICULTURE: Deregulation and low prices see sugar investment collapse

The fatal flaw in economic rationalism (letter)

Why men avoid fatherhood (letter)

Cattle grazing to cut bushfire risk (letter)

Firefighters deserve our thanks (letter)

Canberra's tragedy (letter)

Case against Saddam not established (letter)

Full story (letter)

Cane farmers' survey (letter)

PROFILE: Solzhenitsyn: the conscience of modern society

ASIA: China launches massive infrastructure expansion

VICTORIA: Taxpayers bankroll alternative lifestyles

ASIA: Taiwan's rural finance in trouble

BOOKS: ANSETT: the Collapse, by Geoff Easdown and Peter Wilms

BOOKS: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics

Books promotion page

Cattle grazing to cut bushfire risk (letter)

by Leon Ashby

News Weekly, February 8, 2003

The recent spate of fires started by lightning in national parks quite justifiably has many asking the sense of our government departments not reducing fuel before our summer season.

While early burning is one option, I want to raise another and that is by allowing cattle to graze out parks. They recycle the grasses into dung which assists with maintaining soil fertility and ultimately biodiversity in the soil. Plants also become healthier when grazed for short durations (much like pruning improves trees and bushes).

With correct grazing management national parks could require very little early burning (which rarely gets done, even if it's written in the parks management plan) ... and it would raise a bit of revenue as well.

Despite it being commonsense that our more brittle environments need grazers to keep the carbon (vegetable matter) cycling properly, our parks are becoming fire bombs and gradually less fertile due to the unscientific and nonsensical approach our government departments adhere to.

Leon Ashby
Landholders for the Environment
Kongorong, SA

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