Transforming Australia’s outback

Concerning potential ecological issues in Australia MikeT writes,

Australia could work on this by working toward not only stopping the desertification of chunks of its countryside, but to actually reclaim that land. The US was able to build all sorts of canals and other assorted systems to traverse the eastern half of our country in the 19th century. With our level of technology today, there is no reason why Australia couldn’t commit 0.5%-1% of GDP to a federal program to steadily transform Australia’s outback over the course of several generations.

I agree with the concept. Though it is worth mentioning that Australia has a lot of desert, much more than the United States.

Australia is already doing several things to alter the situation. Several cities desalinate sea water for irrigation because of the water shortages. There has been proposals to pump waste water underground in South Australia rather than let it escape to the ocean.

I think the bush could be thinned back with a further goal of extending their area, this would decrease the fire risks dramatically, perhaps increase the water table with less trees per area removing water.

I am not certain federal funds are necessary however. I was looking for an article (which I can’t find) that talked about Australian farmers working the land and altering the microclimate making the land more productive and suitable for farming. While infrastructure may possibly be a legitimate role for government, private ownership of land when sustainability is sort, can be effective. Ecologist Joe Haval worked for the Australian government advising on water catchment, planning nature reserves and forests, mapped ecological data and was involved in overseas reforestation. He also advised private companies on optimal tree planting.

A good example of private development of land is Vermont which had been stripped barren by 1850 yet a hundred years later was a garden paradise.

By 1850, in less than 100 years, Vermont had become an ecological wasteland. Then something almost miraculous happened. Over the next 100 years, from 1850 to 1950, Vermont was transformed from an ecological basket case to a special place with a picturesque pastoral landscape known the world over.

Private work in ecology may even be preferable as government involvement can be a hindrance.

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