A Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider – threatened by fire and logging.
In reply to Vicforests comments reported in last week’s Euroa Gazette article.
Following their contentious logging of Parlour’s coupe late in 2016, Vicforests stated that it had no plans for further logging in the Strathbogies (Vicforests Feb 2016 media release & Shepp. News). Indeed, Vicforests provided even more detailed plans to DELWP as part of a Ministerial briefing to the Environment Minister, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, in January this year, as reported in the previous post (FOI document, Min023780 Item. 11):
“Once harvesting in Parlour’s coupe is complete … Vicforests has advised they have no plans to harvest further coupes in the Strathbogie ranges within the next two years.”
The community welcomed this position and saw it as providing some breathing space to consider management options for the forest and Greater Glider protection. The Greater Glider is Australia’s largest gliding possum and has recently been listed as vulnerable to extinction by both the Australian Government (link) and Victorian Government (link).
So, it came as a total shock when, last week, Vicforests announced it does have plans for more logging – this year! We know that Government agencies and corporations, like Vicforests and DELWP, choose their words very carefully, particularly when briefing a Minister.
If, as Vicforests now insists, it has always had plans to continue logging in the Strathbogies, then the advice provided to DELWP clearly had the effect of misleading not just the community, but also DELWP and the Environment Minister! Continue reading
A giant Messmate, felled generations ago, survives on the forest floor.
My goodness, there are parts of the Strathbogie Forest that are just glorious. You have to get a little off the track, but the effort is well worth it. Here are a few pics and videos from surveys we’ve done in the last few months. Hover over an image to see the caption. Click on an image to view the slide show. 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
Lima Falls is a delightful spot and easy to access, being only a short walk from the small car park. The main falls cascade down a steep granite face and this year there was a good flow. Below these falls, the stream gurgles and rushes down a rocky, tree-fern gully, ending up in a sandy stream-bed – gorgeous.
A small group of about 20 walkers picnicked at the bottom of the falls (it was Father’s Day, afterall!), before exploring the creek and walking through the bluegum forest back to the cars. Continue reading
Barjarg Rd and Dry Creek planned burns – a vast area to be burnt in a single year.
… or is that politics, or perhaps bureaucracy. They all blend in this debate.
The Parlours Creek block is one part of the 30 sq km Barjarg Rd burn that will go up in smoke in the next few weeks, along with Koalas, Greater Gliders, old-growth trees and other innocent victims of this arrogance. Once burnt, the fuel in the much of the forest will be reduced, perhaps reducing the severity of a bushfire for at least the next couple of years. After that, there may well be an increase in fuels compared to before the fire, as fire stimulates regeneration of disturbance-loving species (like dogwood Cassinia aculeata and wattles). So, what might have been an open shrub-layer beneath towering old-growth Mountain Gums (Eucalyptus dalrympleana) before the fire, could well become a dense tangle of shrubs with elevated fuel loads, for the next 20+ years, beneath charred stumps of former forest giants. The fire may create a few years of reduced risk and a few decades of increased risk – a questionable strategy, really.
A group of 45 people ventured into part of Parlours block on Easter Monday, to view first-hand what exactly was at stake. The creek and surrounding slopes are very special, not least because the entire area we walked through was virtually weed-free; not one blackberry! Will it remain so once the burn has opened up the canopy and understorey? This is another one of those pesky little issues that can’t be measured and don’t rate a mention in the Fire Operations Plan. Enjoy the pics – click to view the slide show.
We park our cars and the walk begins.
The Dogwood shrubs in this pic usually grow in response to disturbance, like fire, storm damage or logging.
Descending the slope we head towards Parlours Creek.
The creek is shrouded in tree ferns and dense undergrowth.
This is a beautiful, mysterious place that fire should never enter.
Parlours Creek was still running, despite the long, hot, dry summer.
A beautiful picnic spot beneath Smooth Tree Ferns
The creek tumbles over boulders and under fallen trees.
At times the walk was a scramble, but well worth it for young and old(er).
Smooth Tree Ferns abound.
Colour, texture and the sound of trickling water.
Crystal clear water bubbling over a sandy creek-bed.
With a history of selective logging, parts of this forest are still young, making the old-growth trees even more precious.
Much of this forest is open, with low fuel loads and poses minimal fire risk.
Note the huge build-up of leaf litter and fine fuels (not).
This area has some history of fire, though probably several decades ago, perahps associated with timber cutting in the 1960s and ’70s.
We end our walk with a conversation about how precious this forest is.
One of the reasons for the walk was to retrieve six trail cameras that had been out in the block for two weeks, to see what sorts of animals frequent this bush. Those results coming soon.