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Atlas of Australia

By Viv Forbes - posted Tuesday, 31 July 2012

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.

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About the Author

Viv Forbes is a geologist and farmer who lives on a farm on the Bremer River.

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