"The end of native forest logging in Victoria announced last week was met with
joy from conservationists and shock from timber industry workers.
To date, this has been how the story has been told: a win for the environment,
a loss for jobs in the industry.
But there is an aspect of the story which hasn’t been told. The end of native
timber harvesting is an opportunity for Victoria’s First Peoples to tend these
forests again. Our voices have not been heard in this debate, but we have much
to do on Forest Country.
You might think an end to logging naturally means a return to wilderness. But
wilderness as an ideal is a concept which has undermined the rights of
Indigenous people. For tens of thousands of years, we worked with Forest
Country to ensure its health. When colonists first arrived the land was often
described as resembling parklands. Colonisation took that away. In some places
this change allowed wilderness to set in and some to became more fire prone.
The end of native timber harvesting gives us an opportunity to rethink what
Forest Country looks like. It doesn’t have to be dense forests everywhere. We
could bring back areas of open Country and reintroduce practices such as
cultural burning. We urge decision-makers and the public to keep their minds
open – and listen to First Peoples voices."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics