East Gippsland

VicForests finally admits – the logs aren’t there

23 January 2017

Forests are not a Magic Pudding and this fact finally caught up with the government and VicForests in January 2017.  Knocking down forests faster than they can regrow has been the management standard for decades by every logging agency and overseen and excused by every government (Liberal and Labor). After such cut-throat management, the industry and workers are now screaming that their throats have been cut because the limit has been reached; forests can no longer provide the sawlogs demanded.

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.

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.

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.

Summer legal actions stop VicForests in its (bulldozer) tracks

9 February 2016

On three occasions between mid-December 2015 and early February 2016, EEG has been forced to engage lawyers from Environment Justice Australia . We believe VicForests is consistently not taking its legal obligations regarding environmental protection seriously and Minister Neville’s Environment Department is yet to to take action. Keep reading for more details of our most recent legal adventures ...

Legal action forces VicForests to survey

4 February 2016

Action taken by Environment East Gippsland and their lawyers, Environmental Justice Australia, has resulted in VicForests today agreeing to halt logging and survey for rare wildlife and plants in a stand of East Gippsland’s forests rich in threatened species.

“Sadly, since mid-January and while negotiations have been going on, VicForests continued to clearfell this amazingly valuable forest where four rare and threatened wildlife and two plant species were discovered by volunteer surveyors” said Jill Redwood from EEG. “It’s a shame that so much has been destroyed in this time, in an area that clearly should have been surveyed by trained biologists before the chainsaws moved in”.

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