Even though the devastating Queensland floods of early 2011 are some nine months ago now, greater damage is starting to reveal itself out to sea – so far nearly 1,000 dead Sea Turtles and 170 dead Dugongs, a vulnerable species, have been found. The creatures are dying from starvation because they are losing their food source, sea grass. Since the floods, the silt that has been washed off the land has resulted in the sea grass dying right back, and in some locations the sea grass has been lost all together. You can read more about this tragedy in the making here.
Before the clearing of the land we have seen since European settlement, flood waters generally ran clear. An article by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul Sheehan is helpful in explaining this. Paul says, “The rivers have been running brown. A lot of the lifeblood of this country has been gushing away in liquid mountains we don’t even see.” We would not see the silt that is causing the above mentioned Dugong and Sea Turtle fatalities if we had not cut down so many trees.
If there was less clearing of trees, there would be less erosion. We are losing our soil that is so precious for our struggling farmers, and we are killing animals in the process. We have to start replanting trees. This is better for the land, it is better for our farmers, it is better for our marine life, and it is an opportunity to help other species like koalas. This is thinking about the big picture – by planting the right trees in the right areas, we can rebuild both our land and marine ecosystems.
Plumes of silt out to sea
"We changed the landscape and so changed the weather..." Photo: Simon Bosch