Tag Archives: Powerful Owl

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

VicForests logs Powerful Owl habitat for …. firewood?

Powerful Owl (Image Duncan Fraser)

Powerful Owl (Image Duncan Fraser)

You’ve got to be joking, right? VicForests are spruiking the importance of  firewood as a sustainable product from Parlour’s Creek coupe. Is firewood really such an important part of their business model?

Which kind of means that they’re logging Powerful Owl and Greater Glider habitat for firewood!

Minister d’Ambrosio – can you and your Department of Environment honestly endorse this action? After years of telling us how important it is to have sawlogs for the booming native hardwood industry (NOT!), VicForests have trotted out a contractor to tell us he’s logging some of the richest forest left on the Strathbogie Ranges for firewood, FIREWOOD?! 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

Strathbogie Forest gets short-shrift from Victorian Government

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A giant Messmate in the Strathbogie Forest – note the regenerating pole forest from previous logging.

We know that the Strathbogie State Forest is the last stronghold for both the Powerful Owl (FFG Act)  and the Greater Glider (EPBC Act) in the Strathbogie Ranges. More than 80+% of the native forest in the Strathbogies has been cleared and the remaining native forest is now isolated from similar forests to the east and south.  This forest and the regional community it supports and nurtures are getting a raw deal from the Victorian Government.

An open letter to the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Daniel Andrews.

The fact that both Powerful Owls and Greater Gliders are doing well isn’t just a coincidence. 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.

 

Parlour’s coupe – citizen science

dscf5193VicForests has seemed reluctant to investigate the non-timber values of Parlour’s coupe, even though it’s their statutory responsibility – perhaps they’re worried about what they might find. So, we thought we’d help out. Our citizen science program visited that forest area a number of times in recent years, spotlighting, listening for owls and doing moth and fungi surveys, among other things. We’ve pulled together the information on the two high-profile threatened species that live in that coupe – assessment-of-parlours-coupe140916 (1.8 MB).

In summary:

  • Parlours coupe contains a number of high conservation values, none of which have been adequately considered in the pre-logging planning. Greater Gliders and Powerful Owls both occur in the coupe and the forest itself complies with the DELWP/VicForests definition of High Conservation Value forest.
  • VicForests have conducted no on-ground fauna surveys for the above values, yet intend to log the coupe as early as the 19th September 2016 (6 days hence).
  • The Planning Standards (DSE 2014) for the North East FMA are out-of-date and seriously inadequate. They make no mention whatsoever of the Greater Glider, which is now listed as threatened in Victoria and under the Federal EPBC Act.
  • Greater Glider densities in Parlours coupe are as high as 11.7 individuals/km spotlight transect.  These densities are high enough to be regarded as ecologically significant in East Gippsland  and elicit special protection from logging (DSE 2014), but in the Strathbogies these values are ignored.
  • During three formal visits to the coupe and its immediate environs over the last two years, individual Powerful Owls have been recorded on two occasions. The Parlour’s Creek catchment, including the coupe area is clearly part of a resident owl’s regular home range. The appropriate Special Protection Zone should be investigated and declared.
  • There is concern that, although Powerful Owls are considered in the Planning Standards, the Powerful Owl Management Area ‘strategy’ has not been reviewed for some years and that areas set aside for Powerful Owls in the North East may not provide the level of protection intended.
  • We urgently recommend that a moratorium be placed on all native forest logging in the Strathbogie Ranges until there has been a comprehensive ecological assessment.

Vicforests’ inaction and indifference to their responsibility is quite staggering, particularly when they’ve repeatedly told us that they take sustainable forest management very seriously. Hmmm.

 

VicForests gives ‘the finger’ to local community and threatened species

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Combined Media Release – 11th Sept, 2016

Strathbogie Sustainable Forests Group and Euroa Environment Group

After three years of discussions and meetings with the local community, VicForests has announced the imminent logging of a controversial coupe in the Strathbogie Forest. The announcement occurred, not with a letter or email or even phone call, but by nailing a logging notice to a tree in the coupe and expecting locals to find it! It follows a lengthy campaign earlier this year by the Forest Group, Euroa Environment Group and Firefighters for Forests to halt a planned burn of more than 3000 hectares of the Strathbogies’ remaining forests which was ultimately re-negotiated with DELWP but at a high community cost.

The Strathbogie Sustainable Forest Group has consistently argued for evidence-based decision-making regarding forest management in the Strathbogies. Spokesperson for the Group, Sim Ayres, says “There is not an extensive forest up here. What we have left after 150 years of clearing for agriculture and pine plantations is a small, quite fragmented forest, a forest that is under increasing threat, yet which still has amazing, magical hidden treasures that our community values and is prepared to fight for.”

VicForests plans to log up to 10 coupes covering 450 ha in the heart of the Strathbogie Forest. Sim Ayres again, “We’re not opposed to logging and we’ve said that over and over, but we are totally opposed to logging that does not adequately assess the risk to other forest values. Neither the Government, nor VicForests understands what values exist in these coupes because they have never had a good look. From our local knowledge, we know that these forests are the last stronghold of a variety of forest dependent species in the entire Strathbogie Ranges; species including the threatened Powerful Owl and Greater Glider.

But what’s most at stake is the relationship between the Group and VicForests, and by default the Victorian Government. “We believe there could be a win-win here,” says Sim Ayres “given the chance. Once the forest’s values are thoroughly assessed, then it will be clear where and how much forest might be available for sustainable logging. And our local community wants to have that conversation. We should not be in a rush to log these forests. We need to get it right. A moratorium on logging, pending a VEAC investigation is not a cost, but an investment in the future. But this unilateral action by VicForests will set the clock back years and usher in a new phase of conflict.”

In a previous meeting with the Group, VicForests tabled the idea of developing a ‘Community Forest Management Agreement’ to guide future logging – it seems they were just more empty words.

Logging is due to begin on the 19th September – just over one week away. And when that first chainsaw starts up, the goodwill and thousands of hours of volunteer effort that have gone into this, will be scuttled because VicForests declared war on the local community.

Media enquiries –

Strathbogie Sustainable Forests Group – Mr Sim Ayres   0455 246 141

Euroa Environment Group – Ms Shirley Saywell   0427 246 900

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