June 1, 2013 Latest News No Comments

The prime role and cardinal principle for management of

Photo © Tatiana Gerus

Photo © Tatiana Gerus

national parks is the protection of our biodiversity. Certainly national parks provide an opportunity for people to commune with nature and to carry out passive recreational activities but these functions must be secondary to the prime purpose.

Unfortunately the LNP Newman led State Government does not share Wildlife Queensland’s view- a view that is widely accepted not only in Australia but internationally.

It appears that the Newman Government considers national parks a resource that must be exploited used as cow paddocks and 4WD tracks by inviting such activities with slogans such as ‘it is not a 4 wheel drive until it is covered in dirt’

Where is the science that underpins their decision to trash national parks? Research findings by scientists including but not limited to A.S. Kutt, J. Kanowski, I.J. Gordon, J.C.S. Woinarski and B.J.Traill have presented sound data that highlights the folly of allowing grazing into national parks.

It is amazing that the Government has not bothered to review the scientific evidence that clearly indicates native mammals are negatively affected and depleted on pastoral land compared to conservation land.

The decline of mammals in northern Australia is one of the most significant conservation concerns in tropical savannahs and increased grazing is implicated as an interacting factor.


Parks are for Wildlife and People not Cows!

There is clear evidence that removal of grazing can lead to small mammal recovery. Retrograde steps that reintroduce grazing into parks that have had 5-10 years to recover will simply cause rapid and significant negative impacts.

There is also clear evidence that an increase in grazing causes exotic pasture species and weed proliferation which in turn influences a depletion and changes in flora and fauna diversity and abundance.

Wildlife Queensland believes that the following questions must be answered:

NATIVE SPECIES WELFARE

  • How will the welfare of native plants and animals under drought conditions and stress be addressed in the grazed areas?
  • How will the welfare of the native plants and animals be managed under increased pressure from grazing?

FENCING

  • Who will fund the fencing of the grazed areas within the parks, resource reserves and proposed parks?
  • Who will pay for the fencing being used for grazing around sensitive areas such as springs?
  • How will these sensitive areas be quantified and identified?
  • How will near threatened and threatened plants and animals listed in the Nature Conservation Act be protected?
  • Will endangered and of concern regional ecosystems be grazed?
  • Who will ensure fencing is wildlife firendly?

WEEDS AND FERAL ANIMALS

  • Will weeds and feral animal management control be undertaken by the people who are given the grazing rights?
  • Will there be a weed survey undertaken to list existing and new weeds?
  • Will weed hygiene practices be adopted to address new weed incursions?

MONITORING OF ANY CHANGE

  • Will existing vegetation and fauna monitoring of sites on the parks be continued to ascertain any change?
  • Will the existing base line sites already established by CSIRO scientists researching rangeland management of fauna be resourced to look at grazing impacts?

NATIONAL PARK MANAGEMENT

  • Will protection burns be permitted in national parks, resource reserves and proposed parks with cattle grazing?

EQUITY

  • How will equity be identified? How will the people given grazing rights be selected?
  • How will the carrying capacity be calculated on these native pastures? Will it be based on agricultural science for the grazing of natural pastures in the defined park, resources or proposed park and immediate adjacent areas?
  • Will the public continue to have access to areas set aside for grazing?

Wildlife Queensland would encourage people to write to Minister Dickson and their local member to seek responses to the above questions. Hon Steve Dickson M.P., Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, P.O.Box 15187, City East, Queensland 4002 orNationalParks@ministerial.qld.gov.au

 

Further Information

  1. Grazing on Parks: where is the science? Wildlife Queensland – May 2013
  2. The Conversation: Our national parks must be more than playgrounds or paddocks
  3. The Conversation: Queensland cattle crisis – animal welfare or the environment
  4. The Conversation: Queensland government opens up common resources to private interests
  5. The Conversation: National parks are the least locked up land there is
  6. The Conversation: Clearing more land: we all lose
  7. Lintermans, M. and Cottingham P. (eds) 2007. Fish out of water – lessons for managing native fish during drought. Final Report of the Drought Expert Panel. Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Canberra. MDBC Publication No. 29/07
  8. Jensen, A. and Robertson A.J 2001. Relationships between livestock management and the ecological condition of riparian habitats along an Australian floodplain river. Journal of Applied Ecology 38 : 63-75.
  9. Wilson, J. 2010. Effects of artificial watering points on rangeland bird communities. In: Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangeland Society, Bourke (Eds D.J. Eldridge and C.Waters) (Australian Rangeland Society: Perth).

Published Papers

  • Jensen, A. and Robertson A.J 2001. Relationships between livestock management and the ecological condition of riparian habitats along an Australian floodplain river. Journal of Applied Ecology 38 : 63-75.
  • Kutt, A. S. 2003. New records of the Julia Creek Dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi in central-north Queensland. Australian Zoologist 32:257-260.
  • Kutt, A. S., and A. Fisher 2011. Increased grazing and dominance of an exotic pasture (Bothriochloa pertusa) affects vertebrate fauna species composition, abundance and habitat in savanna woodland. The Rangeland Journal 33:49-58.
  • Kutt, A. S., and J. E. Kemp 2012. Native plant diversity in tropical savannas decreases when exotic pasture grass cover increases. The Rangeland Journal 34:183-189.
  • Kutt, A. S., and I. J. Gordon 2012. Variation in terrestrial mammal abundance on pastoral and conservation land tenures in north-eastern Australian tropical savannas. Animal Conservation 15:416-425.
  • Kutt, A. S., E. P. Vanderduys, J. J. Perry, G. C. Perkins, J. E. Kemp, B. L. Bateman, J. Kanowski, and R. Jensen 2012. Signals of change in tropical savanna woodland vertebrate fauna 5 years after cessation of livestock grazing. Wildlife Research 39:386-396.
  • Kutt, A. S., E. P. Vanderduys, and P. O’Reagain 2012. Spatial and temporal effects of grazing management and rainfall on the vertebrate fauna of a tropical savanna. The Rangeland Journal 34:173-182.
  • Legge, S., M. S. Kennedy, R. Lloyd, S. A. Murphy, and A. Fisher 2011. Rapid recovery of mammal fauna in the central Kimberley, northern Australia, following the removal of introduced herbivores. Austral Ecology 36:791-799.
  • Lintermans, M. and Cottingham P. (eds) 2007. Fish out of water – lessons for managing native fish during drought. Final Report of the Drought Expert Panel. Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Canberra. MDBC Publication No. 29/07.
  • Vanderduys, E. P., A. S. Kutt, and J. E. Kemp 2012. Upland savannas: the vertebrate fauna of largely unknown but significant habitat in north-eastern Queensland. Australian Zoologist 36:59-74.
  • Ward, D. P., and A. S. Kutt 2009. Rangeland biodiversity assessment using fine scale on-ground survey, time series of remotely sensed ground cover and climate data: an Australian savanna case study. Landscape Ecology 24:495-507.
  • Wilson, J. 2010. Effects of artificial watering points on rangeland bird communities. In: Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangeland Society, Bourke (Eds D.J. Eldridge and C.Waters) (Australian Rangeland Society: Perth).
  • Woinarski, J. C. Z., S. Legge, J. A. Fitzsimons, B. J. Traill, A. A. Burbidge, A. Fisher, R. S. C. Firth, I. J. Gordon, A. D. Griffiths, C. N. Johnson, N. L. McKenzie, C. Palmer, I. Radford, B. Rankmore, E. G. Ritchie, S. Ward, and M. Ziembicki 2011. The disappearing mammal fauna of northern Australia: context, cause, and response. Conservation Letters:DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-1263X.2011.00164.x.

For more information on Wildlife Queensland’s activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us anemail.

Written by Wildlifeqld