Nicolas Francois – Day 2

A key aspect from the introduction to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area is the diversity of “participants” (I actually prefer the term stakeholders because I believe if that everyone has an interest, or stake, whether they admit it or not- and sometimes this interest is aligned with the common interest)

It’s quite a surprise to learn that there are no secure dedicated funding for the national park. No entry fee, no special tax, apparently a minimal levee from the council.

This brings the amazing reality that funding keeps on going down but tourism keeps on going up… again this is a case of people reaping the benefits of a common good and public effort. Another case where the ecoservice delivered by Nature is regarded as free and not valued the way it should be.

There are some initiatives happening where the WHI is seeking corporate sponsorship from local businesses which is a way of giving back. Questions arise though about the independence vs those corporate entities which have vested interests. Again a proper recognition of perspective, goals and biases of each participant is essential to avoid disappointment and misunderstanding in carrying work in the Blue Mountains based on this type of funding.

Prescribed burning in the Blue Mountains is considered to be only 5% of what should be done. If it was done at the appropriate level there would be smoke in Sydney every other day.

But again we are not sure of what was the true regime of fire back prior to the arrival of settlers. I question the fact that traditional burning was occurring across the Blue Mountain if there are no historical references to this- surely historians would have noticed if Sydney was covered in smoke every other day. Additionally if the Blue Mountains had been cleared by regular traditional burning why would it have been so difficult for the first explorers to cross them?

A valid point was made about the impact of traditional burning in releasing trapped carbon back into the atmosphere, would that actually favour climate change?

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