Nyngan farmer Anthony Gibson, spokesperson for the NSW Regional Community Survival Group, has warned government officials and the public to be aware of Dr Barry Traill’s limited scientific credentials on the ecology of woody weeds.
Following is the rest of the media release from the NSW Regional Community Survival Group:
“An exhaustive search of the world’s premier online scientific publication database, CAB Abstracts, has failed to unearth any examples of refereed published work by the Wilderness Society’s key spokesperson on woody weeds,” Mr Gibson said.
The Community Survival Group is made up of farmers from western NSW who are fed up with ‘green-inspired laws’ that prevent farmers from controlling woody weed infestations that are destroying up to 20 million hectares (an area three times the size of Tasmania) of western NSW.
Mr Gibson said that a comprehensive search of the CAB Abstracts database failed to uncover any trace of published work in refereed (peer-reviewed) international journals by Traill.
CAB Abstracts is the most comprehensive bibliographic, abstracting and indexing database in its field, covering references to journal articles, monographs, conferences, books and annual reports from more than 100 countries.
It covers environmental science and ecology, including soil science, water resources, organic farming, forestry and integrated crop management, environmental pollution and remediation. Issues relating to the conservation of land, forest, soil, biological and genetic resources, and nature conservation are also covered.
Ecological publications within CAB Abstracts searched for articles written by Traill included:
Conservation Biology; Ecological Applications; Ecological Monographs; Ecology; Evolution; Global Ecology and Biogeography; International Journal of Plant Sciences; Journal of Applied Ecology; Journal of Biogeography; Journal of Ecology; Journal of Tropical Ecology; Journal of Vegetation Science; Proceedings: Biological Sciences; Quarterly Review of Biology; and Science.
Mr Gibson said that a PhD alone does not make a scientist an expert – a scientist has to publish his/her work extensively in refereed international journals before they can be considered an authority on an issue; hence the maxim in the academic community of ‘publish or perish’.
“The only published material by Traill unearthed was a 2001 review titled ‘The Nature Conservation Review’, a publication produced by the green group The Victorian National Parks Association, and a couple of unrefereed conference papers.”
“Barry Traill is entitled to an opinion on how woody weed infestations should be managed in western NSW but government officials and the public should be warned not to consider him an authority on the issue.
“The NSW Government must start to listen to the local knowledge and experience of Aboriginal Elders, community leaders and farmers on how best to control the destructive affects of woody weeds – people who deal with the problem every day – not political activists like Traill,” ended Mr Gibson.“