Tag Archives: koala

2017 Honeysuckle Art Show – forest celebration

The longer we campaign for improved forest management in the Strathbogies, the more opportunities we have to share this special corner of the north east with the wider world. The 2017 Honeysuckle Art Show was one such opportunity.

This year’s art show theme was ‘Ageing’, so it seemed fitting to celebrate those ancient trees, and the habitat they create, that are so important for the health of the forest ecosystem. The main image (above) is of the forest display at the show in the Violet Town Hall. The slideshow (below) shows the individual pics that comprise the exhibit. All images were taken in the Strathbogie Forest on the regular community activities run by the group. Click to view the slide show.

 

And we even received an ‘Honourable Mention’, in the ‘Textiles, print making & collage’ category!

This exhibit was part of our 2017 Strathbogie Forest Citizen Science Project. This project was funded with the support of the Victorian Government.

Tree-top living, just don’t look down

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This Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) was 25 m up in a Mountain Gum (Eucalyptus dalrympleana).

Our night-time surveys are revealing a forest rich in wildlife.  And the stable, clear Autumn weather has been ideal for working in the forest at night. Though the Strathbogie Forest doesn’t have the tallest of trees, craning one’s neck to look up into 30-40 m canopies can take its toll.

We document all our sightings : time of the observation, species ID, latitude and longitude, species of tree the animal was in, height of the animal in the tree and the number referencing to the photo of the animal. For example: Continue reading

No Plan – “No Complications”

Logging straight through a drainage line.

Logging straight through a drainage line.

We have just learned that Vicforests’ logging of Parlour’s Coupe has finished. The news came via a media release that found it’s way to us via a third party. At least Vicforests is being consistent in the way it treats this local community – as an afterthought.

On the 11th November 2016, with logging of Parlour’s Coupe underway, Vicforests announced: “Once operations have commenced, we are planning on inviting community members to view the operation in progress.  This is likely to be mid December, though that is weather dependent.  An invitation will be sent out via email.” Suffice to say, we’re still waiting for the invite! Though there’s little point and no community appetite to continue playing Vicforests’ games.

Most of the timber cut from Parlour’s coupe has become firewood for the domestic market. Yes, there were probably a few sawlogs in there, though we seriously doubt that much was turned into “high quality timber flooring and furniture”. At $85/cu m for firewood (retail), the contractor (who also has a large, local firewood business) has every incentive to use the wood he’s cut down, for his own business – who can blame him. Without a doubt the community pressure that resulted in the shift from clear-fell to selective logging  is an improvement. But the devil, as always, is in the detail and more on that another time. Continue reading

Strathbogie forest rally – c’mon Lily, get on-board.

Locals care about their forest.

Locals care about their forest.

A cool, sunny weekday morning on Lima East Rd in the Strathbogie Forest. All seems normal, other than the 60 forest supporters protesting the logging of some of the best forest left in these ranges. The rally was as much a show of support for the hundreds of people that have joined in the campaign over the last three years, as it was to appeal to the Government, particularly the Victorian Environment Minister Lily d’Ambrosio, to not continue to ignore Continue reading

On-line petition for the forest

VicForests have announced (again) they intend to start logging Parlour’s coupe – start date is Monday 14th November.

Sign our on-line petition calling for a moratorium on logging in the Strathbogie Forest, pending a VEAC investigation into the forest’s values. 

The Strathbogie Forest still contains some real gems, but the quality of  the forest is, without doubt, severely degraded after a century of logging and the last 30 years of over-cutting. Now, VicForests wants to log some of the best native forest left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges! And they intend to do it without even knowing what values the forest contains.

The community has shown that this forest is home to Koalas, Greater Gliders, Powerful Owls and Long-nosed Bandicoots, as well as century-old Blue Gums, Messmates and Mountain Gums. Forest management doesn’t have to be either logging, or conservation but by logging Parlour’s coupe now, without properly assessing forest values, VicForests is demonstrating it couldn’t care less about any forest value other than timber. So much for all their glossy motherhood statements trumpeting ‘protecting biodiversity‘, ‘sustainable forest management‘ and adopting the ‘precautionary principle‘.

Sign the on-line petition and then share it far and wide.

Click on a pic to view the slideshow.

 

Ten good reasons not to log Parlour’s coupe

dscn9220There are strong arguments why VicForests shouldn’t be logging in Parlour’s coupe, or any of the other 450 ha of planned coupes:

  1. The last comprehensive forest assessment was done 30+ years ago. Current forest management is like the blind leading the ignorant. We want a moratorium on all native forest logging in the Strathbogie Ranges until there has been a comprehensive assessment of forest values. How else can we make good decisions?
  2. In spite of preparing coupe plans, VicForests have not adequately assessed Parlours coupe, or any of the other 10 coupes they plan to log, for significant forest values.
  3. There are known, resident Koalas in the coupe and Strathbogie forests are well-known for their high density Koala populations. The methods used by VicForests to survey and manage Koalas are seriously flawed. Any management plan developed by VicForests to protect the resident Koala community will also be flawed.
  4. Timber from Parlour’s coupe won’t even be processed in our district. It’ll be hauled 180 km south to a Warburton mill. When we last spoke to VicForests they assured us all the timber would be supplied to local sawmills.
  5. The policy document that regulates how forest values are managed is seriously out of date and does not provide adequate protection for a number of threatened species: Greater Glider & Powerful Owl.
  6. Parlour’s coupe is home to a high density of the Greater Glider, an FFG and EPBC listed species whose remaining stronghold in the Strathbogie Ranges is the Strathbogie forest.
  7. Current forest management has driven one species of gliding possum to local extinction.  The Yellow-bellied Glider is dependent on big, old trees and a diverse forest of eucalypts – it’s gone from these forests. We don’t want any repeats.
  8. The Strathbogie forest, including Parlour’s coupe, contains some very big, old trees that likely pre-date European colonization of Australia. When the forest around them is logged they’ll certainly suffer.
  9. Many of the planned coupes are within or next to the Parlour’s Creek catchment. This 650 ha catchment contains some of the highest quality forest remaining in the entire Strathbogie Ranges. Logging this area is like performing open-heart surgery on the forest.
  10. VicForests have shown that they are interested in the timber in Parlour’s coupe, at the expense of all other considerations: community, forest health, local economy, koalas, good policy, good planning, informed decision making. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

VicForests: a threat to Strathbogie forest Koalas

dscf0157You might have read in a previous post, that VicForests conducted a pre-logging Koala survey in Parlour’s coupe, though they incorrectly concluded that there were no Koalas living in the coupe. The pre-harvest survey methods employed are themselves interesting, but aren’t dealt with here.

VicForests’ Koala Management guidelines rely on two things:

1. That Koalas in tall forests can be reliably and effectively detected.

2. That the contractor logging the forests is suitably skilled, qualified and has the incentive to detect Koala sign and then interpret what it means.

Let’s examine the assumptions.

1. Can Koalas be located in tall forests?

Spot the Koala in this Narrow-Leaf Peppermint - see it?

Spot the Koala in this Narrow-Leaf Peppermint – see it?

Finding Koalas in the canopy of a tall forest is always difficult, whether it’s daytime or night; the most skilled observer will always miss some. The taller the trees, the harder the task and the greater the likelihood of error. To add to the difficulty, tree canopies in forests are usually at least partly obscured by other trees, leaves and branches – not like the roadside tree in this pic. In short, it’s impossible to assess anything more than presence/absence of Koalas in tall forests – as VicForests’ survey has shown.

Then there’s the Koala scat survey. Koala scats are about 15 mm long, 8 mm thick and look a little bit like leaf litter. Here are images of Koala scats and the forest where Conservation Biologists and logging contractors are supposed to look. What chance? Continue reading