Recently, The Weekly Times published an article about community and industry concerns over logging in the Strathbogie Forest. The role of bee keepers in developing a new form of logging, based on ‘continuous cover forestry’, is to be commended. Anything that puts an end to clear-fell and ‘seed tree’ logging in mixed species forest is a step in the right direction and protection of apiarists and their industry is critical food security. That it took community and industry pressure to achieve this, shows just how myopic Vicforests is, caring little for forest values, or what/how/where the timber will be used.
Though the article presents a positive picture, Vicforests has not committed to using this selective logging technique (‘continuous cover’) in Victoria’s mixed species forests, instead maintaining that there is still a place for clear-fell/seed-tree logging in the Strathbogies. But such a discussion begs a bigger and more important question: should all mixed species forest be available for logging, or are some areas so precious, so value-rich, that they should be excluded from logging and protected for, for example, recreation, regional tourism, nature conservation, research and threatened species survival? Continue reading
… and cut for firewood.
Approaches to the landing are a bomb-site.
Vicforests’ ‘world’s best practice’ threatened species management
Snig tracks criss-cross the coupe
Barjarg Flat coupe contained some of the highest quality forest left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges and was home to the highest ever documented Greater Glider numbers in Victoria. So, how does the Victorian government manage habitat of this EPBC Act and FFG-listed species? Easy – they let Vicforests loose. Continue reading
Read the full article here.
Read the Media release here.
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”
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 Greater Glider in ‘Tattoo’, a coupe next to Parlour’s that also has lots of big, old trees with hollows.
Such is the advice VicForests have given DELWP and the Environment Minister, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio. In May this year, DELWP released documents under FOI about Ministerial correspondence relating to Greater Glider conservation. In that correspondence, signed by the Minister 3 Jan. 2017, DELWP advise the Minister that:
“Once harvesting in Parlours coupe is complete … Vicforests has advised they have no plans to harvest further coupes in the Strathbogie ranges within the next 2 years.” (MIN023780 Item 11; page 17 of the FOI)
Logging of Parlour’s coupe finished in January 2017. VicForests’ statement is indeed good news and suggests it acknowledges the importance of the Strathbogie forest for Greater Glider conservation. Importantly, there is now breathing space to allow consideration of how best to manage this important Greater Glider habitat.
The FOI documents make for extremely interesting reading, as they repeatedly mention the Strathbogie Ranges and both the fauna survey and advocacy work undertaken by the SSFG. But there are also very disturbing revelations in the FOI documents. Continue reading