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Atlas of Australia

September 24th, 2012 by Viv


Viv Forbes, 23 August 2005

Viv and Judy Forbes breed cattle and sheep on a grazing property at Rosevale in SE Queensland. Viv recently formed “The Grassland Protection Group” to protect and promote Australia’s productive grasslands.

The Constant Battle for Land & Water
Australia has supported humans for thousands of years. Over the millennia, one feature has been constant — grazing animals have been the key to their survival. The grazier is the “Atlas of Australia”.

The essential assets for graziers are grasslands and water. Every previous generation has valued, maintained and conserved these, our most precious assets.

But this generation of urbanized fools and misguided greenies is undermining all that. They are destroying these valuable assets.

Every living thing is in fierce competition for access to soil and water. On land, the big contestants in this battle for space are grass, herbs and trees. These three are seldom in balance — one is always expanding at the expense of another.

The Early Invaders
The first human grass managers probably arrived here in sailing vessels. They brought with them the first grazing tools — the fire stick and the dingo.

These graziers changed the face of Australia. Fire removed last season’s old dry grass, pushed back the scrub, destroyed woody weeds and encouraged the re-growth of grass in all areas suited to grass. Fire was unable to penetrate the dense forests, where no grass grew, but in areas where grass had a foothold, the fire stick maintained that grass and allowed some expansion.

The expanding plains and open forests encouraged grassland animals and birds. Kangaroos, emus, parrots and pigeons flourished, and their vigour was maintained by constant culling by competing carnivores — humans, dingoes, crocodiles, eagles, hawks and other meat eaters.

But trees fought back, developing strategies to live and expand in the face of the annual fires. They developed iron barks, resistant to heat, and their seeds became fire resistant, so a new crop of woody weeds grew up after every fire. Trees, grass, herbs, grazing animals and carnivores all found their space in the Great South Land and fought vigorously to preserve and expand their territory.

We are all Ferals
Nature never stands still — some species of animals and plants are always failing, becoming rare and then extinct, while others are invading new territory.

Only fools think they can preserve an unchanging biosphere, where failing species are preserved for evermore, and vigorous feral invaders are destroyed or repelled. Even a casual glance at the fossil record will show that well over 95% of species that ever lived on planet earth are now extinct. They failed, and every one was replaced by vigorous “feral” invaders, who became the new establishment. Luckily, our ancestors were vigorous survivors.

The “Still Life” picture is OK for story books, art galleries and Greenie publications. But out in the real world, it is an action cinema. Out of the droughts, the fires, the floods, the weeds and the pests, new winners and losers are constantly emerging in the battle for living space. Every species in Australia arrived here as a “feral” invader, colonized vacant territory and pushed aside weaker occupants.

The Recent Invaders
The face of Australia was changed again by the next wave of human settlers, who brought new animals, plants and tools. Their sheep, cattle, horses, ploughs, axes, fencing wire, wheat and vegetables allowed an enormous expansion in the land devoted to human survival. Human population expanded enormously, and other species were pushed aside and some failed.

These settlers also brought a totally new primate species to Australia — the bureaucrat, a sort of parasitic species protected by armed men and granted power to impose their values on all other settlers. This new species, “Homo plumbeus” (lead in the saddlebag) used powerful new weapons such as taxes, fines, fees and red tape to again change the face of Australia. Unfortunately, a predator of bureaucrats has not yet emerged.

“Homo plumbeus” has a favoured habitat — a cosy office in a large city. Naturally the more adventurous explorers, prospectors and graziers got far ahead of the regulators and took possession or “squatted” on the best natural resources they could discover. Their axes, ploughs, grazing animals and mines laid the foundations for all the roads, railways, towns, farms and mines that supported waves of new immigrants.

However, the bureaucrats soon followed. The first one to turn up at a selector’s door was probably a Land Commissioner.

In the days of the pioneers, trees were the enemy. Unless these were cleared, both the settler and the colony starved. Government land inspectors roamed the bush threatening selectors with dispossession unless they cleared their quota of trees every year.

That policy was wrong, but so is the current policy where Government land spies, using malicious dobbers or aerial surveillance, threaten graziers with dispossession if they dare to clear a tree without a government permit.

Spurred by years of propaganda from the greenies, and the comfortable do-gooders in the well-watered leafy suburbs, politicians of many hues are now prepared to sacrifice Australia’s future because too few appreciate how much Australia depends, not on the trees, but on the grasses.

Our Sacred Grass
In the bible it is written “All flesh is grass”.

At the bottom of the land-life pyramid is the soil. The soil supports the worms, bacteria, fungi and other soil microbes that decompose rocks, minerals and organic matter. All land plants derive their sustenance from the soil, the air, the rain and the microbes, some of whom live in symbiosis with the plants. These valiant few (the soil microbes and plants) are the sum total of land-based primary food producers.

Of all the primary food producers on earth, grass is by far the most important — without all the native and domesticated grasses, most of mankind and all his farmed animals would starve. Grass is indeed the sacred plant on earth and those fools prepared to sacrifice our valuable grasslands for the still life dream of a protected forest, deserve to sit down to a breakfast of witchetty grubs and boiled ironbark.

Standing on the shoulders of these primary food producers (soil, microbes and plants) are the predators and parasites — insects, birds, herbivores, omnivores, carnivores and all mankind. And at the top of the food pyramid sit the bureaucrats and the tax collectors. (The pyramid is becoming top heavy.)

Atlas is Shrugging
All over Australia, droughts, taxes, prohibitions and confiscations of land and water rights are having an inevitable consequence — graziers are giving up — Atlas is Shrugging.

The most obvious evidence of this is the sudden takeover of grasslands by weeds, pests and trees.

The first grassland invasion started as bureaucrats seize and lock up land in national parks and other no-go areas — an expanding playground for bureaucrats, a haven for weeds and pests, a birth place for bush fires and a dangerous land magnet for the landless millions of Asia.

The second grassland invasion is coming from a plague of subsidised eucalypt plantations. This sterile monoculture of woody weeds is taking over whole farms as graziers are bribed to destroy grazing assets that their ancestors took two centuries to create (often sped along by subsidised or coerced state land clearing programs).

There is another sign of Atlas Shrugging – go to any farm meeting and look around — it looks like a seniors meeting — farmers are a dying species. “Homo plumbeus” is winning the battle for survival, and our next generation sees their future in the law, regional or industry planning, ecology, sociology, the welfare industry, the land rights industry or amongst the mandarins — few sons and daughters of the land are choosing to stay there.

Graziers, farmers and fishermen have supplied the food for all Australians for their whole history. The political classes are engaged in a war on their own primary producers that is unparalleled in history — as Napoleon once said “Only a foolish horse fights with his nosebag”.

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