$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.
At 3.5 m dbh, this Messmate is one of the oldest trees we’ve found anywhere in the forest!
The Victorian Government has given it’s commercial logging arm, Vicforests, the green light to log part of the Strathbogie forest that has the highest documented densities of Greater Gliders anywhere in Victoria, perhaps Australia. Good one Dan!
And as of 15 November 2018, logging is underway.
In late 2017 government ecologists undertook detailed surveys for Greater Gliders in the Strathbogie State Forest. This was a collaborative project, a welcome opportunity to share and build knowledge. It acknowledged the community’s involvement in forest management advocacy, as well as the citizen science surveys conducted in the last two years. A government report on the findings is being prepared. The project surveyed a number of 500 m transects, both in coupes and in other areas of state forest. The survey detected 14 Greater Gliders in one of the 500 m transects located in Barjarg Flat coupe! These government surveys confirm what last year’s community surveys found: that the Strathbogie State Forest is a Greater Glider hot-spot. The Greater Glider is a threatened species listed under both Federal and Victorian environmental legislation. Where such detection rates occur in other parts of the state, the government is obliged to create a 100 ha protection zone in that habitat. But here in the Strathbogies – zero, nothing!
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”
Mt Seldomseen … or someone’s folly?
It was fitting that the walk to Mt Seldomseen was perhaps the smallest walking group we’ve ever had – six! So, Mt Seldomseen remains just that.
It was a gorgeous day – blue sky and warm, perfect for a bush walk. Sim led the way and though the track into the bush was seriously degraded by illegal, off-road trailbike riding, that all changed once we left the track and headed towards Mt Seldomseen, in the Toorour Reference Area – an area devoid of roads and tracks, where the only access is on foot. The Toorour Reference Area was created in 1986, one of two reference areas in the Strathbogie Ranges (the other being the Glen Creek Reference Area), for the purpose of “maintain the ecosystem … for scientific study related to the impact of Man’s activities…” (LCC 1986).
We were headed to one of the reference area’s rocky outcrops, Mt Seldomseen, by first walking through state forest for about 1 km, then up onto a broad, dry ridge dominated by Red Stringybark trees, including some large, handsome specimens and flowering Broad-leaf Peppermints that filled the air with the sweet smell of abundant nectar. Continue reading
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.
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!
Perfect winter weather accompanied our group of 47 visitors to the Strathbogie Forest on Sunday. We came to see and pay respect to some of the grand old trees that still stand in this forest.
Two giants at the Messmate picnic area on Barjarg Rd are a continuing source of inspiration for visitors. These are perhaps the two biggest, oldest Messmate eucalypts (Eucalyptus obliqua) left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges. [Click an image to open the slide show.]
Messmate picnic area
Giant Messmate 50 m tall, 3 m dbh
Giant Messmate crown
Messmate on stilts – how on earth?
Standing inside – humbling and unnerving.
The Mountain Gum (E. dalrympleana) is another giant tree of this high elevation mixed species forest. Continue reading