Invest in science to reveal full picture on vegetation management

The QLD Government should give its scientists the resources they need to examine how much vegetation is growing in Queensland not just how much is being cleared, AgForce said.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said farmers need to manage vegetation on their land to grow food and did not want harsher laws imposed upon them on the basis of incomplete information.

“The Queensland Government has been using satellite imagery for years to measure vegetation clearing rates for the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS), but they don’t measure how much vegetation in Queensland has grown at the same time,” he said.

“Briefing notes released under Right to Information laws reveal Ministers were told in 2016 that ‘we have accurate information on losses, but not accurate information on gains’ yet since then, little has been done to give scientists the tools they need to look at the full picture on vegetation management.

“In effect, the SLATS report only tells half the story. You can’t and won’t get the best environmental and agricultural production outcomes making decisions on flawed data sets.

“Farmers on the ground can point to parts of their properties where trees and shrubs are thicker than ever and are rapidly encroaching on the semi-open woodlands and naturally open grasslands where cattle and sheep graze.

“AgForce has always said we are willing to engage in a science and evidence-based process on this issue, which means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation has regrown and why vegetation was being managed, not just how much has been cleared.”

Mr Maudsley said AgForce had recently released its ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy Agriculture’ policy in a bid to stop the political ping pong on vegetation management.

“The Government now has the numbers in Parliament, so this issue will be a test of whether they are willing to put the politics aside, let the science tell the whole story and work with those most affected by these laws to come up with a long-lasting solution,” he said.

Source: AgForce

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