Almost any economic activity these days is destined to be fraught with controversy, and the professionals who must navigate these dangerous waters are often faced with placating two equally immovable objects or points of view.
The debates about logging on Elphinstone and Wilson Creek are weekly fixtures in Coast Reporter and issues of biodiversity are frequently mentioned.
Sally Abraham’s letter (May 25) treats us to an apocalyptic vision of “the loss of whole species of animals” (which ones, may I ask?) and an end to life on this planet as we know it. Elphinstone Logging Focus also makes regular pronouncements about how logging will impair biodiversity, recreation and various other values.
A persistent myth on the Sunshine Coast is the belief that our beautiful temperate rainforest is an extremely diverse, species-rich environment and that human disturbed habitats are species poor. This is an excellent time of year to test the hypothesis of loss of biodiversity for yourself. Take a hike in adjacent areas on Mount Elphinstone that are forested and recently logged, and compare the number of species of plants and animals in each.
Old growth and second growth forests with crown closure are very low in species diversity across the spectrum of mammals, birds, insects (butterflies), reptiles, amphibians and plants.
Conversely, step into the sunshine of a forest opening, whether man-made or naturally caused by forest fire, and you will be greeted by a profusion of biodiversity. The sunlight on the earth generates a plethora of plant life which then provides browse vegetation, berries, seeds, pollen and nectar that supply sustenance across the board to bears, deer, elk, rabbits, rodents, dozens of bird species, hundreds of insects and so on.
No doubt there are some difficult decisions to be made concerning our local forests, but a good way to approach the process is with fact-based knowledge.