Can the alarming resurgence in Australian land clearing be halted?

In recent decades Australia has been among the worst forest- and woodland-destroying nations in the world, ranking right up with top forest-killing nations such as Brazil and Indonesia.

No habitat, no wildlife... (photo by William Laurance)

No habitat, no wildlife... (photo by William Laurance)

Thankfully, forest and woodland destruction in Australia fell into sharp decline beginning in the mid-2000s, with the advent of new legislation designed to reduce clearing of old-growth forest and mature woodland.

But with the emergence of an arch-conservative federal government led by Tony Abbott, and highly conservative state governments in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, we began to see a significant return to the "bad old days" of egregious habitat loss. 

In Queensland -- the biggest destroyer of wildlife habitat in Australia -- rates of native-vegetation loss tripled in just two years.

Recent rsurgence of forest clearing in Queensland -- thanks to conservative state and federal governments.

Recent rsurgence of forest clearing in Queensland -- thanks to conservative state and federal governments.

Now, the Queensland conservatives have been largely thrown out of office, and federal leader Tony Abbott appears to be on shaky ground.  Could this mean that Australia's forest-destroying ways are going to decline?

A recent article led by Martine Maron of the University of Queensland, and coauthored by several leading scientists including ALERT director Bill Laurance, decries the resurgence of native-vegetation clearing, especially in Queensland, and hopes that these alarming trends can be halted and even reversed.

Read the article here.  It's informative and definitely worth three minutes of your time -- especially if you care about nature and wildlife conservation in Australia.