Why conservationists should blame farmers, not miners, for destroying our woodlands [opinion]

Whilst most conservationists blame mining for threatening the forests and woodlands of NSW, the facts prove otherwise.

Working off data from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, it's clear that while mining contributes to land clearing, its impact is far outweighed by the expansion of agriculture and forestry.

Indeed for the best part of the last two decades, agriculture has razed more land in NSW than any other industry, with forestry only catching up since 2006-07.

In the graph above mining has been bundled with "infrastructure," which includes clearing and development not linked with the sector.

Nevertheless its impact pales in comparison to agriculture, which is easy to forget, but important to remember.

This next graph from a report by the Department of Climate Change shows the close correlation between land clearing and farmers' terms of trade.

Both measurements prove that before pointing the finger at the mining industry conservationists in NSW should take a hard look at their new allies in agriculture.

This isn't to say we should lay siege to farmers because they clear land. They're well within their rights to if they have government approval.

But miners reserve this right too, and the double standard used by some campaigners, where miners are strung up for razing land whilst agriculture is ignored, just doesn't add up.

Tumbnail: RexRowan/WikiCommons

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.