Monday, 22 June 2009

Is there really some land that can replace Australia's drying farmland way back in Europe?

In this New York Times article, the population decline that set in over the former so-called "German Democratic Republic" (more accurately something like the Stalinist Satellite of Germany!) since the fall of Stalinism in 1989 is described in serious terms.

Stories of:

1) 45 percent of apartment blocks in Hoyeswerda being demolished due to lack of demand
2) the number of school students in parts of Saxony falling by 46.5 percent from one year to the next
3) wolves returning to Saxony

make me feel as though, with forecasts of a fourth consecutive year of severe drought in southeastern Australia, there is a genuine opportunity if conservation bodies are willing to take it.

Even if for certain reasons not all of the land from which housing could be demolished is arable, it is, owing to the extreme youth of its flora and fauna, of negligible biological conservation value. Soils in Europe also contain around ten times more available phosphate than soils in Southern Australia that have been leached for as much as ten thousand times longer and under hotter climates.

So, if food prices continue to rise due to the inevitable desertification of Australia's farmland, there would be great sense in trying to re-establish farming on land in former Stalinist nations from which apartments are being demolished due to lack of demand. What would be still more satisfying is for people in Europe to recognise the exceedingly low conservation value of their land vis-a-vis Australia, Southern Africa and the tropics and accept that it is not in the best interest of the globe's lowest-fragility ecosystems that as much of them be conserved as possible.

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