Scorched country: the destruction of Australia's native landscape


Less than 50% of Australia’s original wilderness still exists, thanks to the colonialist view that development of land means eliminating native vegetation

Kate (not her real name) and her husband have run cattle grazing properties in central Queensland for more than 30 years. On remote and isolated properties like that, communities are close-knit and neighbours rely on each other to survive.

But Kate says her neighbours hate her family. Their crime? Not cutting down enough trees.

All up, since Europeans arrived, Australia has lost more than 40% of its forested area

Related: ‘Global deforestation hotspot’: 3m hectares of Australian forest to be lost in 15 years

Full seven fathoms above the rest
A tree stands, great and old,
A red-hot column whence fly the sparks,
One ceaseless shower of gold.

All hail the king of the fire before
He sway and crack and crash
To earth – for surely tomorrow’s sun
Will see him white fine ash.

The situation is worse than anyone appreciates. We don’t have much left.

Related: Lobbying by MPs forced government to back off on land-clearing enforcement

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