Forest and Bird “Off Beam” Blaming Wild Animals for Global Warming

A Forest and Bird claim that wild animals browsing foliage are hampering carbon sequestering has been strongly challenged by a recreational hunting advocacy.
Laurie Collins, convenor of the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (SHOT) and former Marlborough pest officer, says the claims by Forest and Bird were “off beam”.
Recently Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague said a new Forest and Bird report gives a stark warning that ongoing damage by introduced browsing pests causes native habitats to “bleed” stored carbon.  
“The report, Protecting our Natural Ecosystems’ Carbon Sinks’ reveals the West Coast’s kāmahi-podocarp forests alone are presently bleeding 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 every year because of browsing from deer, goats, chamois, and possums,” said Kevin Hague.
But Laurie Collins who worked extensively for the NZ Forest Service as a forest ranger, deer culler and pest worker, said Forest and Bird’s claims were ludicrous since New Zealand’s vegetation evolved over millions of years under a strong browsing regime by moas, other ground herbivore birds and canopy birds such as kereru (pigeon).
He said eminent NZ ecologist the late Dr Graeme Caughley had estimated there were at least six million moa comprising several sub-species that browsed tussock tops, forest, scrub and lowland vegetation. Landcare Research in 2000 estimated there were about 250,000 wild deer.
“So the wild animal browsing impact is insignificant compared to millions of years of browsing by moas and other birds,” said Laurie Collins. “If moas hadn’t been eliminated by hunting and habitat destruction by burning, would Forest and Bird be complaining and wanting moa browsing foliage, eliminated?”
He said Forest and Bird’s wild claim was made more absurd by recent disclosure of Climate Change Minister James Shaw and an entourage of eight, hypocritically travelling to Scotland by jet plane to attend climate change talks.
“Kevin Hague should be tackling the Minister and his bureaucrats instead of expelling hot air over wild animals,” said Laurie Collins.

© Laurie Collins – Would Greens and Forest and Bird
exterminate moas browsing foliage?

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7 Responses to Forest and Bird “Off Beam” Blaming Wild Animals for Global Warming

  1. "Doc" says:

    A puzzling feature is the “air time” given by the media to a lot of eco-fundamentalists as Forest and Bird basically is. Forest and Bird’s statements often lack reality and credibility. Hague’s utterance is typically so.
    He needs to understand, NZ has seen three browsing regimes over the last 1000 years – the period of moa browsing up to about 1400, the period 1400-1850 and then following the introduction of browsing game animals, a period of browsing.
    1400-1850 was an “unnatural” period with little or no browsing.
    While the period 1850-to the present day would not have been exactly the same as the moa browsing period prior to 1400, the two plant – browsing systems would be quite close ecologically

  2. Iconoclast says:

    Good response by Laurie. The calculations in the F&B report supporting the notion that introduced mammals are responsible for climate change are woeful.

    There is only one introduced mammal in NZ that is responsible for the vast majority of environmental destruction and some of that species are members of F&B.

  3. A Bird says:

    Does this mean Forest & Bird would be quite happy to see all browsers exterminated including the millions that roam Aftica, ie wildebeest, elephants rhino, zebra ect. I really thought F & B members including Kevin Hague had a few more clues than what has been shown by them many times in the past and no doubt will shown in the future. Also browsing encourages plant growth ask any home gardener what happens in the spring following winter pruning.

  4. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    A difficult point to make with eco fundamentalists fanatics like Hague, regarding the browsing of our valuable resource of wild animals is that they are actually providing a forest health missing link provided by millions of Moa absent from the time our much celebrated brown brother’s, the “wonderful” spiritual care takers of all things of the land wiped them off the earth to extinction.

  5. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    I rather doubt Hague has read the fabulous Quinn Berentson book on Moa??
    He’d soon find out about REAL BROWSING the forest of the once giant browser!!
    “The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird”

    Moa: “The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird “{

    Add to Wishlist
    SKU: 9781877517846Category: New Zealand Natural History

  6. Steve Vee says:

    Hague and Forest and Bird should stick to looking after the welfare of trees and birds and perhaps bees. They have a lot of positions on the environment , many of which are not supported by good science. They advocate strongly to poison the environment with mass aerial spraying of substances that generally poison and kill everything that uses air to live. Clearly this is the position of an extremist organisation and not that of an organisation that wishes to conserve a healthy balanced environment. Hague and Forest and Bird positions should be treated with extreme caution , not dissimilar to the poison they advocate for. They have a very toxic position of a healthy environment.

  7. Howard Spring says:

    Well said Laurie Collins and Hunters Outdoor Sporting Trust. Why does the media give Forest and Bird and its weird views so much space?

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