Leaving only the ASH

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Originally published at: 

The Andrews Government is torn between helping a group of workers in a small country town fighting for their jobs and caving in to a group of Melbourne investors happy for taxpayers to relieve them of their responsibilities, writes Michael Spencer.

The problem for the Andrews Government is that if it caves in to pressure over the Heyfield sawmill, what is the precedent that will be set? Why shouldn’t it then help workers at milk factories in northern Victoria, or any other rural business facing closure?

Heyfield’s claims for government assistance are weaker than most. When Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) bought the Heyfield sawmill from Gunns Limited in 2012, it was already damaged goods.

Endangered animals threatened by logging, environment groups allege

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Originally published at: 

Victoria's state-owned logging company breached rules protecting native animals and rainforests almost 30 times over three years, environment groups allege in a new report.

The report comes after a dead koala was found in a logged section of forest in the Acheron Valley near Marysville that was home to the endangered Greater Glider.

The Greater Glider is in decline with environmentalists concerned about continued logging. Photo: Supplied

As revealed by Fairfax Media earlier this year the state government could have protected the region but ignored advice from its own scientific committee.

Now the latest report alleges there were 27 cases of logging in East Gippsland and the Central Highlands in the past three years that breached an environmental code of practice.

The code is designed to guard rare, threatened and protected animals and forest types, including rainforests.

Council adopts a lose-lose stance on threatened Flying Foxes

Friday, June 23, 2017

The East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC) appears determined to destroy the roosting site of a colony of the threatened Grey-headed Flying Foxes. This is a major blunder of immense ignorance and bloody mindedness that will likely result in an even bigger problem for the council, possibly with a million dollar ‘fix-it’ bill and an even more threatened, threatened species.

During 2015 and 2016, the colony remained at the site all winter with females staying to birth their young – defined as a maternal breeding colony which gives this site even more significance.

Flying Foxes – an economic ‘golden egg’ for Bairnsdale or a million dollar back-fire?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

There could be a win-win solution for the current controversy over the nationally significant colony of Flying Foxes along the Mitchell River, say local environment groups.

A failure if the council proceeds with habitat destruction could cost ratepayers over a million dollars going by other documented failures and the lessons learned. The second stage of habitat removal and dispersal is planned to begin in the next week or two.

VicForests fudges the numbers... again

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Originally published at: 

VicForests has been caught out using very dodgy arithmetic to blame the small endangered Leadbeaters possum for its predicament. These were presented to the VEAC investigation and the Parliamentary enquiry as kosher - and too complicated for the average Joe to understand. But their bamboozling tactics didn't fool Greens MP Samantha Dunn. VicForests is exposed as crooked managers yet again.
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The fiction of "it's the mill or the possum" stands on dodgy statistics such as those calculated by VicForests.

Scientists warn greater glider faces extinction and want it protected from logging

Friday, June 2, 2017

Originally published at: 

Those who know the greater glider have a vivid way of describing it: like a flying possum crossed with a koala. About the size of a garden-variety possum, but with a looped tail up to 60 centimetres long and membranes that extend from its elbow to its ankle, it is Australia's largest gliding marsupial.

Scientists say it may not continue to be: it is headed for extinction. Two decades ago, greater gliders were abundant up the east coast, but a combination of land-clearing, logging and the rising threat of bushfires linked to climate change has triggered an 80 per cent population crash.

The greater glider is headed for extinction. Photo: Pavel German

Will forest shredders stop fires?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Putting VicForests as the overseer of these trials has discredited the trial’s integrity right from the start.

Trials are currently underway to assess ‘mechanical fuel reduction’ in our public forests. The details are sketchy but seem to be based on a US practice of using heavy machinery with mulching/shredding capacity to run through native forests turning everything in the lower and mid story into mulch or shredded material. Trees are taken out and sold to mills. In the US this method of ‘fuel reduction’ is driven by the commercial need for bio-char, but is dressed up as ‘fire-safety’. In Australia, burning forests as a method of ‘fuel reduction’ remains an unproven science as a method of keeping communities safe, despite its wide spread use. However there is much research that shows it can be useless to counterproductive and extremely damaging for the natural ecology and wildlife of areas.

Victoria's logging industry faces supply dilemma

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Originally published at: 

In 2009, 75,000 ha of Victoria’s forests were burnt in the Black Saturday bushfires. Over a 3rd of that was forests earmarked for the logging industry. The prospect of bushfires are never calculated into long term planning or log contracts with mills. Couple this situation with other bushfires and a history of overlogging and the result is unprecedented environmental destruction and habitat loss, but also a huge shortfall in the logs available to the logging industry.  

In 2013 the Heyfield mill knew their supply would be cut back in 2017.