Devastation at Minnippi Park

June 6, 2011 § 8 Comments

I recently went to one of my main shooting locations for an early morning macro session but as I was walking towards the area I could tell that something wasn’t right. From a few hundred meters away, the glimpses I was catching through the trees were not matching up in my mind with the area I know so well.

As I came to the edge of the maintained area in front of where my morning shooting sessions are normally focused I stopped and stared in horror as a wave of first disbelief and then nausea hit me. This entire section of park that once supported so much life and provided vital habitat for the breeding and survival of many species had been razed to the ground! The area mainly consisted of long grasses with probably 30 smallish trees spread throughout that provided a unique habitat in the park.

At the time we had no idea what the deal was, but seeing as this is the spot where about 70% (at a guess) of my images from the last couple of years have come from, we were going to do our best to find out.

Over the last week and a half we have been in touch with local council and have found out that the area has been cleared as part of the “2 million trees” campaign. The Lord Mayor has set a target of planting 2 million trees in the Brisbane area to make the city “greener”. While the initiative is fantastic in principle, it is beginning to reek of nothing but bureaucracy in it’s execution.

It seems the local councillor either knew nothing of the goings on or just didn’t care as he fobbed us off to another member of council. From there we were told that the area had been cleared and that 2,555 new trees of the same species that are in the area are to be planted. Apparently this was to be done “to increase the biodiversity of the area”. It would seem that only those sitting behind a desk who have never actually bothered to set foot in the park could possibly think that the wanton destruction of a unique habitat to be replaced with an expansion of an already existing (and more widespread) habitat could possibly increase the biodiversity.

The lack of logic and planning behind the move goes even further though as to fit the aforementioned 2,555 trees in the area, they will need to planted almost literally on top of each other. At a pinch, I would estimate that planting around 300 or so of the selected trees would provide a complete canopy over the area and essentially obliterate any chances that the required grasses could reappear. Planting close to 10 times that many will provide an interesting spectacle if nothing else!

Unfortunately, as is so often the case when it comes to government, it seems that as soon as a few tough questions start being asked a wall goes up and that’s the end of it. At the first mention of whether any sort of environmental impact study was completed our emails were redirected to higher authorities and have since been ignored. Funny how that works!

I wish there were examples we could take heart from, but the last lot of work that was carried out in the park leaves little to inspire hope for a bright outcome. A bike path has been built through the bush at the northern end of the park, along which 218 trees were planted. Of these planted trees, 88 have died and the rest of the area is choked with weeds and has become a pungent cesspool as the bike path has interrupted the natural flow of water away from the area. I wonder if this is what is destined for our once abundant life supporting habitat? And once they have finished “improving” Minnippi park, where will the powers that be decide to turn their wisdom…

As I said earlier, the “2 million trees” initiative has great potential and I’m sure it was conceived for the right reasons. It’s the execution that has let it down. Even those blind to nature would surely struggle to see the sense in destroying one green habitat to try and establish another. Wouldn’t the scheme work better and achieve more if it was to reclaim areas that are in actual need of it? Apparently there’s too much logic in that sentiment for those in power to comprehend though. Or maybe it’s just cheaper and quicker to do it the easy way in the hope of garnering another few votes.

In honour of what was once, in my opinion, one of the premier macro areas in the heart of Brisbane I’ve added a handful of images below, all shot at Minnippi, of some of the former residents. May they find a new home that suits their needs.

RIP Minnippi.

M-IMG_6286Many dragonfly species would use the thicker grasses as an overnight perch away from the waters edge where temperatures remained significantly warmer.

M-IMG_0262The small trees spread throughout the grasses were home to range of colourful and varied leaf beetles that used them for food and shelter.

M-IMG_0622The small trees and grasses between were also home to many small frogs who used them for shelter and as an important gateway to other areas.

M-IMG_1211Tiny native bees used the grasses to roost over night With an easterly aspect, the grasses were the perfect place to wait for the first rays of the early morning sun.

M-IMG_1780A host of different spiders used the grasses to hunt, playing an important balancing role in the ecosystem.

M-IMG_1853Insects such as grasshoppers would use the small trees and grasses for both shelter and food.

M-IMG_2285The entire life cycle of several wasp species were played out in the thick grasses and small trees, using them for shelter and as nest building sites.

M-IMG_6279Arial predators such as robber flies had the perfect hunting grounds to perfect their art and help keep everything in balance.

——————–

If anyone out there finds these sort of inexplicable actions as disheartening as I do, I would love it if you could leave a quick comment to show those “in charge” that people do actually care about how areas such as these are being treated! I hope these comments will go some way to getting those in power to actually think before they act!

Anthony

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§ 8 Responses to Devastation at Minnippi Park

  • LordV says:

    Well I do hope you get some sensible information/ explanation from the council.
    This seems to be a totally misguided attempt to reach some “quota” for tree planting which will actually do more harm than good to the local flora and fauna but will no doubt earn the council some “green” brownie points.
    Brian v.

  • As a fan of Anthony’s photography, it pains me to know that he’s lost the use of one of his prime shooting sites. I’ve personally witnessed the same destruction of valued ‘native denizen habitat’ here in the states in the name of ‘beautification’. Best use of land doesn’t always have to mean easiest to maintain for the maintainers. Nature needs its’ own spaces too.

  • Kurt says:

    Sorry to hear about this Anthony. I think it should be made mandatory for all city council staff to read books like “The Smaller Majority” and documentary like “Life in the Undergrowth”. I hope they will change their mind and that it’s still not to late to turn things around.

  • Mark says:

    Good idea, the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s 2 million trees project, shame about the execution.

    It looks like it is now being rushed to finish and trees are being planted without due concern for the habitat they are replacing or that they fit the environment, and all so the Lord Mayor, Newman Campbell, whose idea it was, can say he ‘did’ it before he runs for QLD state premier.

    This was basically a good idea corrupted for political ends and may yet come back to haunt him.

    What a disastrous waste of public money too.

  • peter heywood says:

    Its a real shame what has happend to Minnippi park,
    With probably good intentions the powers that be have destroyed an area of important habitat, most people dont realise how fast places like this are disapearing.
    Dense forest on its own is not a very good habitat and a mixture of trees with clearings is a much better habitat for butterflies and other creatures
    Peter Heywood

  • It is truly sad to see and hear of the destruction of habitat. While the intent to increase the green space is admirable, destroying an established healthy area is truly counterproductive.

    Hopefully the politicians will open their eyes and actually see .

    Roberta Davidson

  • Bryce says:

    sad to hear this Anthony! I hope they change there mind, as places like this get harder and harder to come across and i personally think we need more areas like this, they are great for the wildlife, but also for a nice Sunday afternoon walk!

  • anthonytancredi says:

    Thanks very much for the comments everyone. Your support is greatly appreciated. It is indeed a shame and a massive waste. Hopefully we will get a decent resolution soon!

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