The Environmental Farmers Network (EFN) is disturbed at the alleged illegal clearing of a large area of the Gwydir wetlands by a local landholder.
“The value of these lands in terms of their water-holding, their vegetation and their biodiversity is inestimable”, says EFN chairman, John Pettigrew,
“It would be a great shame if irreversible damage has occurred because of a poorly considered action of a single landholder. Most landholders are now aware of the critical need to protect the environment and any who resort to illegal actions tarnish the image of all landholders in the eyes of the wider community”.
The Environmental Farmers Network is an organisation predominantly of farming families, intent on improving environmental health of private and public land in farming areas. EFN members, like most farmers, appreciate the importance of these precious wetlands, and many are working hard to enhance and protect wetlands on their own properties.
Wetlands play an important role in the landscape, and provide vital ecosystem services which assist in maintaining a sustainable farming economy.
The Gywdir wetlands provide important nesting and breeding sites for migrating birds and this is one of the reasons why they are internationally recognised via the International convention on Wetlands (signed at Ramsar in 1971).
John Pettigrew said “the EFN believes that any breach of existing laws (for example, Federal EPBC Act, 1999, or NSW NV Act, 2003) should be formally dealt with”.
This issue highlights the importance of having an unequivocal understanding of the importance environmental values play in our production systems. The Victorian Government is working to come to terms with this via the proposed production on a ‘Land and Biodiversity in a Time of Climate Change’ white paper. Farmers in Victoria are encouraged to contribute to this. (see www.dse.vic.gov.au)
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