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Logging and our Environment

I was decrying the illegal logging activites in Indonesia to a colleague (where old growth forests the size of Switzerland are being cleared each year - allegedly none will be left in Sumatra by 2005 - see comments for references).

Then he sent me this SMH article about Australian agriculture:

The collapse of the wide, brown land

I need to be careful given who my friends and family are ;) but here is a quote from the article:

While 60 per cent of Australia's land area and 80 per cent of its human water use are dedicated to agriculture, the value of agriculture relative to other sectors of the Australian economy has been shrinking to the point where it now contributes less than 3 per cent of the gross national product. That's a huge allocation of land and scarce water to an enterprise of such low value. Furthermore, it is astonishing to realise that over 99 per cent of the agricultural land makes little or no positive contribution to Australia's economy. It turns out that about 80 per cent of Australia's agricultural profits are derived from less than 0.8 per cent of its agricultural land ...

Note that I have not tested or substantiated these figures, but assuming they are true then we are little better than the over-protective Europeans with their farmers.

Maybe we should just be paying the farmers in Asia and Africa a reasonable price for their produce - possibly introducing incentives for them to invest in eco-friendly farming.

Food for thought, so to speak.

Update: It occurs to me that the point about the water is a furfy - it's not water per se that is scarce, it's water in particular catchment areas. With the exception of a few particular river systems, rural and non-rural water usages are from different sources.

05:03 PM, 21 Feb 2005 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (3)


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