2016

Interpol says corruption in global forestry sector worth $29 billion every year

9 December 2016

The international police organization Interpol released a report today that highlights the scale of corruption in the global forestry sector as well as the importance of coordinating law enforcement efforts across national boundaries in order to protect forests.

According to the report, the cost of corruption in the global forestry sector is some $29 billion annually. Bribery is the most common form of forestry corruption, followed by fraud, abuse of office, extortion, cronyism, and nepotism.

Logging plan puts squeeze on Victoria's high value native forests

26 November 2016

VicForests' timber release plan targets 12,000 hectares of East Gippsland forest. Photo: John Renowden

Victoria has taken the dubious title of being the largest logger of Australian native forest by volume, accounting for around a third of all native forest logged in the country over the past year.

The state government agency VicForests logged more than 1.3 million cubic metres of wood from Victoria's native forests, almost 100,000 cubic metres more than the year before.

KUARK – protecting a forest ark

22 September 2016

Supreme Court Case

EEG’s history of taking legal action has become legendary. We are now progressing another legal case to protect some of East Gippsland’s most beautiful stands of forest in an area known as the Kuark (koo-ark). This began in January 2016, with a successful injunction to stop logging granted in February 2016 (until the case is finalised). We argue that VicForests failed to properly look for and protect threatened wildlife, native plants and rainforest.

How it began

There had been a number of other areas in East Gippsland where the citizen science work of GECO and FFRC had identified wildlife such as Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders in areas planned for logging. With the evidence of these species and the help of EEG’s lawyers at EJA writing to VicForests, several forest stands were protected or partly protected. The combination of volunteer survey findings and legal assistance were very effective. 

However, after the survey crews and our lawyers had informed VicForests of findings in three particular coupes in the Kuark forests, it refused to do what we believed they were obliged to, as they had in the other areas.  Despite relevant legislation, the EG Forest Management Plan, Management Procedures, Planning Standards and the Code of Practice for Timber Production, logging continued.

EEG applied for and was granted an urgent interlocutory injunction on 13th February 2016.    We are now seeking orders declaring that the logging in these coupes is unlawful and to continue this injunction until VicForests comply with their legal obligations.

 

The three forest stands in dispute

There are three logging coupes in dispute. VicForests named one ‘Tin shed’, coupe number 830-507-0023, which was half logged (early January) but had not been surveyed despite the likely presence of rare species.

One to its south is called ‘Webbed feet’ coupe no 507-0020 (late Jan/Feb), and has a substantial area of rainforest within it. This coupe has had major disturbance from snig tracks across half the area but with only a relatively small part of it logged. The injunction prevented further damage.

The third coupe is called ‘Drop Bear’, numbered 507-0021 and was marked as ‘in progress’. It is an untouched stand of rich forest to the north west adjoining Webbed Feet that VicForests now claim it has no intention to log this year.

Native Forest logging: we can do better than this

23 July 2016

Pretty much everyone is sick of the slogans used by the major parties in the election. But jobs, growth and fairness remain pertinent to the current situation in the native forests of Victoria's Central Highlands. There, the reality is that native forest logging provides few jobs; it is not a growth industry – its resource availability is shrinking. It is not fair that taxpayers have to subsidise an industry worth far less to the economy than alternative uses of the forest.

Is Victoria's native forestry industry worth it at $5 million a job?

27 June 2016

The viability of Victoria's government-owned native forestry business has been thrown into doubt by a high-level analysis concluding it takes more than $5 million of investment in roads, machinery and equipment to create a single timber job.

Victorian forests worth more as national park than timber

21 June 2016

This ANU report proves the logging industry is worth 1/70th what the forests produce in water value.

Professor David Lindenmayer said plainly "This is really dumb economics..." Logging in the central highlands generated a tiny $29 per hectare of additional net economic activity in 2013-14. That compares to a $2,023 per hectare contribution to the state's water supply, a $2,667 per hectare contribution to agriculture and $353 per hectare from tourism.

The analysis also found the value of carbon sequestration was potentially greater than the value of logging. Based on a carbon price of $12.25 - which was the average price paid by the Commonwealth in its second direct action emissions fund auction - it estimated carbon storage could generated about $38 per hectare per year.

Central Highlands carbon storage worth more than logging

20 June 2016

The Andrews government is considering creating a new national park in the central highlands. Photo: Justin McManus

Victoria's Central Highlands' forests would potentially generate more income for the state if they were permanently preserved to store carbon rather than logged, according to a major study.

VicForests takes credit for volunteer scientists' work

27 May 2016

Greater gliders as surveyed by GECO.

UPDATED: VicForests claim spin doesn’t steal credit from GECO

A community group of citizen scientists has become incensed following the release of a statement by VicForests that appears to claim their work for its own.

A Gippsland-based group of citizen scientists claim VicForests has attempted to take credit for its work in protecting the habitats of nine endangered species.

The good guys gazump the bad this time!

29 April 2016

The Bad news is that VicForests continues to clearfell in ecologically valuable forests which have barely had an adequate survey or none at all. This means VicForests continue, as always, to destroy rare wildlife, rainforest, giant trees and critical habitat.

The Good news is that the surveyors from GECO again found a massive breach of the law by VicForests and managed to halt the logging. VicForests had sent their logging crew into a stand of old growth forest near Bendoc on the Errinundra Plateau, habitat of the protected Greater Gliders. A very high density of 11 gliders along just 850m of forest were detected during a random spotlighting session on 28th April 2016 in an area that was being logged. This high density population was not picked up by VicForests - but should have been.

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