Clearfell Logging


Clearfelling entire hill sides back to bare dirt is VicForests’ favorite way of logging because it creates thousands of tonnes of ‘waste’ trees.

This so called waste is then sold very cheaply to local and Asian paper companies. It has to do with the economies of scale.

Before the late 60s, the best timber trees were felled singly for sawn timber (called selective logging). Now the entire landscape goes. Not only does clearfelling take out those offensive ancient forests and the animals that live there, it lets the logging companies burn any struggling plants that try to return and then plant one species of preferred tree as a woodchippers mono-crop over the top of once was diverse healthy forest. 

In effect, we pay them to cut down hundreds of year old trees, incinerate the site, and convert it all to miles and miles of woodchip tree farms. Even though conversion to plantations is illegal, they just give it another name – regeneration – oh – and usually with ‘sustainably managed’ in front of that.

It’s a bit like defining mass slaughter of civilians in a war ‘collateral damage’ (depending on who’s doing the killing).

VicForests - cutting forests, costs and corners

2 August 2007


After three years as the new semi-corporate arm of the government logging agency, VicForests was going down the economic gurgler.

For the first two years after its creation, VicForests was given an easy run with DSE picking up the tab for many costs, but year three was to see it 'off the dole' and making a profit. To balance their books we saw Vic-Forests planning to cut corners and costs. Unfortunately, this also meant cutting their obligations to look after public lands.

VicForests oversees the logging of public forests and is meant to make a profit. In the past, forest agencies (of various names) have relied on hand-outs to operate. Now VicForests' plans to reduce overheads to stay in business could cost the environment dearly.

Auctioning sawlogs brings in some revenue, especially now it asks for a half-decent price for them. But sawmills aren't needing as many logs these days as there is decreasing demand for hardwood timber. However, thousands of tonnes of smoke-damaged ash forests were being knocked down as 'salvage' at ten times the normal rate. Solid logs were split to sell as woodchip fodder at a reduced price. Despite this 'fire sale', the bills were still mounting.
One of those bills was for $2 million in roading charges. DSE build and maintain logging roads then send the bill to VicForests. VicForests denies this is an unpaid debt, and seemed to say it was just a 'dispute over access fees'.

Fair pricing hits the logging industry

1 June 2005

Fair prices? That's not fair!

When the new VicForests office took over the native forest logging 'shop', they came in with a nice new broom. Mill owners will have to compete for logs by bidding for them when their license runs out over the next few years. Meanwhile their current license for logs has had a 17-25% price increase. This has come as a real shock to some mills and we're hearing very loud squeals of protest. An increase in royalties is exactly what EEG has been asking for since the eighties.

As a result, well known grumpy old men and recipients of millions of dollars in subsidies and assistance, threaten to shut their eastern mill down - again. This cry of 'wolf' has been heard about twice a year, whenever things don't go their way. One particular mill owner usually ends up with another bucket of public money out of it, but hopefully not this time.

Pages