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Community contribution – Tree loss

My childhood was spent on a wheat and sheep farm, and it concerned me then, as it does now,
that massive areas of Australian land is totally clear felled of trees and scrub. The farms being
totally nude except for a few stands of trees where the ground is considered too stony for
growing grass. This land, now used for broadacre wheat, sheep and cattle farming, was for
hundreds of thousands of years a thriving ecosystem in total balance.
It is not just farming. Mining and our growing metropolis cities are taking over the remaining
prime habitat for our unique animals. This land was keeping our native flora and fauna thriving,
and provided a living for the first Australians for at least 60,000 years, albeit primitive by our
standards of today.
In the two hundred years that we have occupied Australia, the landscape has been irreversibly
damaged, abused for monitory gain. Turning much of it to barren wilderness, much of it salt
effected and unable to support life. It is no coincidence that is also the period of time that
climate change has been accelerating. Our changing climate is not the cause, it is the effect.
We were taught about trees at school, and how important they are to our existence. They are –
because trees remove the carbon atoms from carbon dioxide, and release the oxygen to the
atmosphere. Have you ever wondered what percentage of the tree are left in the world? My
research suggests 50% of the earths land mass has been deforested. It is also estimated that one
trillion trees need to be replanted and to grow to maturity, to reverse the effects on climate as a
result our industrial activities. That is about 7.8 trees for every person alive today.
Some more interesting facts. An average sized tree stores one tonne of carbon from the
atmosphere over its life time. We, as human beings, need the oxygen supplied by about eight
trees over our lifetime. However, every animal around the world is dependent on that same
oxygen supply, so many more trees are needed to keep up the life cycle of the earth.
As we burn fossil fuels, we use up that vital supply of oxygen, and release the carbon back to the
atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Once upon a time, the atmosphere was mostly that, and animals
could never exist. It was a time when huge forests evolved and covered the earth, storing up the
carbon and creating the oxygen rich air necessary for animal life to evolve. The land mass that
became Australia was no exception. The huge coal supplies upon which our government has
become so dependent, are a result of these forests being petrified into the carbon storage we
know as coal. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that while coal and other
fossil fuels continue to be burnt, that the balance of atmosphere gasses will continue to be
disrupted until animals are once again not able to survive.
Are we able to change the world? Be the change you wish to see. That is where we need to start.
If we really want to leave our world a better place, plant not just one tree, but as many as you
are able.
Yours truly,
On behalf of the remaining 50% global woodlands,
James York.