$80/cu m – that’ll be roughly the value of timber from Barjarg Flat coupe, once the trees have been converted to firewood. Vicforests is at pains to convince everyone that only the rubbish leftover from their logged coupes is used for firewood, but one look at the yard that sources firewood from local forests, puts paid to that fiction. These images show that Vicforests is plundering local forests for a quick buck and the lowest quality forest product – firewood! Firewood is not a by-product of local logging – it appears to be driving the whole enterprise!
Firewood is certainly a useful commodity, but can Environment Minister d’Ambrosio honestly sit on her hands while some of the best Greater Glider habitat in Victoria might be turned into firewood by Vicforests? Perhaps these photos of the local firewood yard just outside Mansfield will help convince her that the process that is meant to protect threatened species, also allows their habitat to be logged for firewood – the system is broken!
Firewood cut from big, straight logs.
Multiple stacks of straight logs wait for processing – firewood?
The sign on the gate suggests prying eyes are not welcome..
Firewood-quality timber left to rot at the coupe.
Barjarg Flat coupe, one of the dozen or so coupes on the current logging plan (below), has some of the highest conservation value ‘wet’ forest remaining in the Strathbogie Ranges. DELWP knows this, Vicforests knows this. We asked Vicforests to log a coupe of lesser conservation value instead of Barjarg Flat, but they refused.
Recent community surveys had identified this part of the forest as high quality greater glider and powerful owl habitat. During 2017, government biologists surveyed 25, 500 m transects in various parts of the forest for greater gliders. The greatest number of greater gliders recorded in any transect was 14 – in Barjarg Flat coupe. In East Gippsland, any patch of forest where there are more than 10 greater glider sightings per km, gets a 100 ha reserve where logging is excluded. By here in the Strathbogies, high greater glider densities seem to be a signal for Vicforests to move right in.
DELWP specifically included the coupes that Vicforests was considering logging in the surveys, so that Vicforests could make an informed decision about coupe selection and minimizing impact on threatened species. Then, Vicforests selected Barjarg Flat to log, before DELWP even finished their surveys! Perhaps they just wanted the timber and no complications. So, unless the community can convince DELWP, or the Minister to intervene, Barjarg Flat will go the way of Parlour’s coupe.
See you Sunday.
“Don’t it always seem to go,
that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”
Location of every Greater Glider detection recorded during this study.
As part of our Strathbogie Forest Citizen Science Project, in the last year or so, we conducted 42 hours of spotlighting, along 27 km of forest tracks, surveying approximately 161 ha of forest. Most of these community surveys occurred in April and May 2017 and ran twice per week – Monday and Friday evenings. Twenty-five different people took part in the spotlighting surveys. All fauna detected during the surveys were recorded, but the focus was on three species- Greater Glider (Petauroides volans), Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis) and Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua).
During these surveys, Greater Gliders were detected 202 times, Common Ringtail Possums 46 times, Koalas 27, Mountain Brushtail Possums 16 and Sugar Gliders three times. There were no detections of Yellow-bellied Glider. We detected Southern Boobook Owls on 10 occasions, Powerful Owls four times and Tawny Frogmouth and Owlet Nightjar once each.
Update: Victorian government surveys have confirmed that the Strathbogie Forest contains the highest detection rates of Greater Gliders recorded anywhere in Victoria, possibly Australia. And those forests are about to be logged!
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
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
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
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