I am writing to express my concern on reading last week’s article, headlined ‘Fire? Walk away, says council’.
The article relates to plans to build a house in Silverleaves which will require removal of nine trees. Two have collapsed and others are apparently leaning and/or showing evidence of limb failure.
The two which have collapsed will be providing a rich habitat (home) for a multitude of lifeforms including insects, lizards, amphibians, fungi, lichens and multitudes of bacteria vital to help break down material and return nutrients to the earth.
The others have potential to grow on and become mature trees with hollows where limbs have fallen away. As long as they are alive they will be providing a number of ‘services’ to we humans including providing shade, cooling the landscape, converting CO2 into oxygen among others.
I agree with Cr Whelan that removing mature vegetation and replacing it with new seedlings will certainly have a negative impact on local biodiversity, especially if it is a remnant site, surrounded by already developed land.
What really upset me was a remark attributed to Cr Kent which, in brief, said that in the event of a fire, people should walk away from their property and let insurance take care of it. Leaving aside the fact that insurance can never replace a lost home and its contents, what about all the other life forms that can’t just walk away, or can’t escape quickly enough?
People mourn the loss of pets, horses and livestock and are saddened by the impact on visible wildlife such as wombats, echidnas, wallabies, possums and lizards, but what about all the lifeforms which are too small for us to see but without which it may be impossible for the landscape to recover?
If we humans are serious about sustainability, diversity and maintaining healthy landscapes we have to think things through when making decisions like these.
Can we build the house without removing mature trees? Can we plan a garden to provide habitat for indigenous animals? Can we leave some earth uncovered so that rain can soak in and nourish the plants?
Can we think of ourselves as part of the organic cycle of life instead of being outside it and showing no regard for any other species but ourselves?
I’d like to think so, especially in this special place called Bass Coast.
Anne Heath Mennell, Tenby Point.