Monthly Archives: March 2014

How old is this Strathbogie forest giant?

Messmate Stringybark, Eucalyptus obliqua.

Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) south side of tree.

200 years old, 300 years old, more? It’s hard to say, but these trees have been around a long time and deserve to grow old gracefully. And though this forest has been logged for more than a century (note the young trees surrounding the giant), logging up until a few decades ago was sensitive enough to allow quite a few of these forest giants to survive; but their days may be numbered. In the harsh world of modern, industrial logging, there seems little room for grand trees like this one. Continue reading

The work begins …

banner DSCF0218Greetings all – last Saturday a keen group of about 20 people met at the Strathbogie Hall to begin the process of developing a community management plan for our forest.  Thanks to those folk who were able to attend and get the ball rolling.

The group formed four working-groups to consider:
** Community Engagement
** Research / fact gathering
** Media / publicity
** Vision Statement/goals etc -> Campaign Strategy

After some discussion and brain-storming, each working-group developed some initial priorities and then reported back to the whole meeting.  We will keep you updated on progress with this work.

The next meeting will be held on Saturday afternoon 29th March at 3pm at the Strathbogie Hall – work groups will report on progress – we hope you will be able to join us.

Don’t forget, the next community activity is this coming Saturday 22.3.14. See the Upcoming Community Events schedule (in column at right) for more info.

'Habitat trees' killed by the fire meant to regenerate the forest - sad irony!

‘Habitat trees’ killed by the fire meant to regenerate the forest in this coupe- sad irony!

Developing our plan

Making this work.

Making this work.

So, we know that we don’t like what VicForests has planned for our forest, but what do we actually want to achieve? We have stated that our aim isn’t to ‘stop logging’, but to achieve better management of these extremely valuable assets: trees and forests!

Come along to the first ‘Our Strathbogie Forest’ workshop to hear about what’s already happening, help develop ideas and set a direction for this campaign.

When: 3 pm-5 pm, Saturday 15th March, 2014.

Where: Strathbogie Memorial Hall.

Topics to be discussed and developed include:

  • fact-finding and research: eg history of forest logging; flora & fauna survey; mapping; cultural history etc
  • communications: eg letter-writing; newsletter; blog & facebook; project info kit; poster displays etc
  • community activities: eg forest walks; photography; information stalls  etc
  • project administration: eg minutes of meetings; Steering Committee; fund raising; strategic planning etc

…and perhaps the most important category,

  • all your other ideas: we need to get our message out, clearly and accurately, so put your thinking caps on!

Strathbogie Hall packed for community meeting

CM3A community meeting was held on 22nd Feb. 2014, to inform and consult with members of the local and regional community, about VicForests’ logging plans. The meeting was widely advertised and the response was fantastic. 150+ people heard from several speakers about a variety of concerns. Keynote speaker was Lindsay Hesketh, formerly Forest Campaign Coordinator for the Australian Conservation Foundation, someone with extensive knowledge of the timber industry in Victoria. There were also several shorter presentations and to finish there were questions from the floor. A variety of views were expressed and the overwhelming response from the floor was to support on-going community action to better manage the forest; generally: with a focus on saw-logs, not wood-chipping; with longer rotations where logging occurs; with increased emphasis on other forest values (eg recreation, biodiversity, eco-tourism) and with harvesting techniques less destructive than ‘seed-tree logging’.

At the end of the meeting people were encouraged to get involved in a variety of community and campaign activities, such as:

  • Fact-finding and research- eg logging history of the forest; flora & fauna surveys; mapping; .
  • Communications- eg letter writing, newsletter production, petitions, spreading the word.
  • Community activities- eg forest walks; presentations; information activities/boards.

So, next ‘we’ need to develop these ideas and get to work. Stay tuned.

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[At the outset, the meeting and all present were informed that the proceedings would be recorded with video and photos and that should anyone wish not to be identified publicly, then to let the organizers know; no one made such a request. If you are in one of the images above and wish to be removed, just let us know.]

VicForests’ 2011-16 logging plans for Strathbogie forests

planned coupes and area 3

Coupe size and planned net harvested area per coupe.

Most of the coupes planned to be harvested in the next few years are lined-up, end-to-end, along a north-south alignment in the vicinity of existing forest tracks. Each of these coupes will get the ‘seed tree treatment’ i.e. clear-felling that leaves a few trees standing per hectare (most of which will fall over, or die within a few years of the logging). If this logging goes ahead, there will be a long scar through the heart of the forest.

The Code of Practice for Timber Production states:

“The size of clear-felled, seed tree or shelterwood coupes must not exceed 40 hectares net harvested area. Where appropriate, such coupes may be aggregated up to 120 hectares net harvested area over a period of up to five years. Aggregated coupes must not be contiguous (forming a coupe greater than 120 hectares within a five year period).” (p. 15 The Code)

What do you think – are VicForests complying with the rules?