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Deforestation| Deforestation
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Deforestation| Deforestation

Queensland landholders clear the equivalent of approximately 1,000 MCGs each day, including endangered ecoregions, according to data from the state government. This raises questions about Australia’s accuracy in its carbon emissions claims.

The Statewide Landcover and Trees Study(Slats), 2018-19, showed that landholders had cleared 680,688 hectares woody vegetation, which is about 0.7% of Queensland’s total.

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It is difficult to make exact comparisons with years past due to the improved accuracy of remote sensing. The government had statedThe 2017-18 clearing rate for hectares was 392,000.

According to the new report, 84% of 2018-19 land clearings resulted in the destruction of vegetation less than 15 years old. 88% of deforestation in 2018-19 involved land with less that 50% tree cover.

The report stated that 3% of ecosystems were considered to be of concern.While less than 1% involved endangered ecological communities,

Stuart Blanch is a WWF Australia conservation scientist. He said that the figures were a surprise and were deliberately released in advance of New Years Eve to generate the least attention. He said that Australia’s carbon emission are much higher than previously reported.

Blanch stated that it is a carbon bomb for both the Queensland and federal governments as it shows we vastly underestimate carbon emissions from land clearing. This will seriously jeopardize our net zero commitments, and any 2030 abatement targets.

We were a large land-clearing nation. Queensland holds the majority of this land, with the majority of it being used for beef.

Guardian Australia sought comment from Morrison and Palaszczuk governments.

In Its 2021 projections updateThe federal government forecast that Australia’s carbon emissions in 2030 will be 30% lower than 2005, surpassing the pledge of 26-28% at the 2015 Paris climate summit.

However, this estimate did not include recent years, when the land sector was deemed have absorbed more CO2 than it released. According to the report, the sector contributed a net 25m tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019.

Blanch said that Queensland’s new dataset, which measured changes in vegetation down 10 m satellite imagery, was three times more precise than the one used to compile National Greenhouse Gas Inventory numbers.

For example, in 2018, The federal government estimates that 2018 will see a significant increase in national land clearing.It was just under 370,000 hectares, which is well below the 680,000 hectares Queensland reported in 2018-19.

Guardian Australia reported last week that Martin Taylor, a Queensland researcher had discovered that Slats’ earlier technology was capable of detecting large areas in land clearing that was not detected by the federal survey.

Glenn Walker is a senior Greenpeace campaigner. He said the Slats data were extraordinary, alarming figures that showed Australia as one of the most rapidly deforesting countries.

Walker stated that these figures are due to millions of native animals being killed and maimed, such as koalas, and large carbon emissions from burning and rotting forests.

The current laws don’t work and the beef industry isn’t taking this issue seriously. This should be a wakeup call to all concerned and urge them to act fast before more wildlife and bushland is lost.

Blanch stated that new data also shows Queensland Labor was failing to enforce land-clearing regulations that were relaxed by the former Liberal National government of Campbell Newman.

The government claimed that 70% of the cleared area was in areas deemed to belong to category X, which are still exempted from the 1999 Vegetation Management Act.

The land clearing seems to have undermined expensive efforts to reduce silt that is washing into the Great Barrier Reef.

One-third of 2018-19 deforestation (or 217,419 ha) occurred in catchments that flow into the reef area. Blanch stated that about 85% of this clearing is exempted from the 2018 Labor law changes as category X.

The report also showed that remnant clearing was up 58% in the important Brigalow Belt, which increased from 35,550 hectares in the previous year to 35.550 hectares in 2018-19.

Blanch stated that the Brigalow belt supports the highest bird biodiversity in Australia and is home at least three species not found anywhere else in the world. This is why the clearing rate has risen so dramatically.

It’s disappointing that the Queensland government kept this data. They knew it was bad news so they buried the data.

Steven Miles (Deputy Premier) announced that a team of scientists would be assembled early in 2022 to better comprehend the results of the study and to find ways to avoid clearing or to take other measures if necessary.

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