Logging and Clearfell

Clearfelling entire hill sides back to bare dirt is VicForests’ favorite way of logging because it creates thousands of tonnes of ‘waste’ trees.

This so called waste is then sold very cheaply to local and Asian paper companies. It has to do with the economies of scale.

Before the late 60s, the best timber trees were felled singly for sawn timber (called selective logging). Now the entire landscape goes. Not only does clearfelling take out those offensive ancient forests and the animals that live there, it lets the logging companies burn any struggling plants that try to return and then plant one species of preferred tree as a woodchippers mono-crop over the top of once was diverse healthy forest. 

In effect, we pay them to cut down hundreds of year old trees, incinerate the site, and convert it all to miles and miles of woodchip tree farms. Even though conversion to plantations is illegal, they just give it another name – regeneration – oh – and usually with ‘sustainably managed’ in front of that.

It’s a bit like defining mass slaughter of civilians in a war ‘collateral damage’ (depending on who’s doing the killing).

Greater Glider – recently listed as threatened

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bad news: The Greater Glider, Australia’s largest (and fluffiest) gliding possum is under threat of extinction.

Good news: It has recently been added to the threatened list of Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFGA)

After decades of decline and zero government interest or surveys, the clear evidence is that local extinctions of the Greater Glider are happening. It’s still in decline due to ongoing threats like clearfelling its habitat, planned burns and destruction of hollow-bearing trees that are essential for its survival. Like the Koala, the Greater Glider eats gum leaves and has a small home range. It won’t leave after its home area is cut down. The glider has an affinity for its known trees and hollows. It starves or is killed by predators once its forest or trees are destroyed.

VicForests finally admits – the logs aren’t there

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Forests are not a Magic Pudding and this fact finally caught up with the government and VicForests in January 2017.  Knocking down forests faster than they can regrow has been the management standard for decades by every logging agency and overseen and excused by every government (Liberal and Labor). After such cut-throat management, the industry and workers are now screaming that their throats have been cut because the limit has been reached; forests can no longer provide the sawlogs demanded.

Calls to end logging’s legal exemption from federal environment law

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This week a coalition of 25 environment groups is urging Premier Daniel Andrews to abandon his plans to extend the legal exemption given to the native forest logging industry in East Gippsland.

The East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) is a 20-year arrangement between state and federal governments that gives special immunity to the logging industry from Federal environment laws - laws that should protect nationally listed threatened species. 

Bigger than Brown Mountain!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Supreme Court case against VicForests did not settle at court-ordered mediation on 24th August. EEG and our team of excellent lawyers were planning to be back in the Melbourne Supreme Court again on October 26th to again argue the case.

BUT the Court adjourned our case due to ongoing DELWP investigations and VicForests recent disclosure of new documents. We will be heading off to the Melbourne Supreme Court on 6th February 2017 now - for an 8 day trial. We will be arguing that VicForests failed to identify and protect threatened plants and animals at logging coupes in the Kuark forests. This is going to be an important case for threatened species protection in Victoria.

EEG and our lawyers are set to go, but we do need your help - in a big way.
A very generous supporter has offered us a matching dollar for dollar donation of up to $10,000. But she needs to know we have public support. That means if we can raise $10,000 from our members and followers, it will actually give us $20,000 to help our case! Good deal?
As donations to EEG are tax-deductible you can also claim them back when you do your tax.


The case will raise legal questions that we hope will provide findings with wider ramifications than just in the disputed areas, as with the Brown Mountain findings. Those findings resulted in VicForests carrying out (limited) pre-logging surveys that it never had done in the past.

KUARK – protecting a forest ark

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Supreme Court Case

EEG’s history of taking legal action has become legendary. We are now progressing another legal case to protect some of East Gippsland’s most beautiful stands of forest in an area known as the Kuark (koo-ark). This began in January 2016, with a successful injunction to stop logging granted in February 2016 (until the case is finalised). We argue that VicForests failed to properly look for and protect threatened wildlife, native plants and rainforest.

How it began

There had been a number of other areas in East Gippsland where the citizen science work of GECO and FFRC had identified wildlife such as Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders in areas planned for logging. With the evidence of these species and the help of EEG’s lawyers at EJA writing to VicForests, several forest stands were protected or partly protected. The combination of volunteer survey findings and legal assistance were very effective. 

However, after the survey crews and our lawyers had informed VicForests of findings in three particular coupes in the Kuark forests, it refused to do what we believed they were obliged to, as they had in the other areas.  Despite relevant legislation, the EG Forest Management Plan, Management Procedures, Planning Standards and the Code of Practice for Timber Production, logging continued.

EEG applied for and was granted an urgent interlocutory injunction on 13th February 2016.    We are now seeking orders declaring that the logging in these coupes is unlawful and to continue this injunction until VicForests comply with their legal obligations.

 

The three forest stands in dispute

There are three logging coupes in dispute. VicForests named one ‘Tin shed’, coupe number 830-507-0023, which was half logged (early January) but had not been surveyed despite the likely presence of rare species.

One to its south is called ‘Webbed feet’ coupe no 507-0020 (late Jan/Feb), and has a substantial area of rainforest within it. This coupe has had major disturbance from snig tracks across half the area but with only a relatively small part of it logged. The injunction prevented further damage.

The third coupe is called ‘Drop Bear’, numbered 507-0021 and was marked as ‘in progress’. It is an untouched stand of rich forest to the north west adjoining Webbed Feet that VicForests now claim it has no intention to log this year.

High drama turned into a High five!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Greater Glider forest refuge was being clearfelled by VicForests through July and August in an extremely provocative act while taskforce members negotiated. This created extreme volatility between the government, its Forest Taskforce (set up to solve Vic’s long and bitter forest dispute), environment groups and VicForests. The logging coupes in our current legal case are all part of it.  

Forest Industry Taskforce progress

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In line with the Taskforce Terms of Reference, those representing the industry, union and enviro groups have refined the agreed opportunities for industry and conservation changes. This includes the establishment of new parks and reserves, threatened species, wood supply security, industry investment, measuring and valuing forest carbon, jobs and regional employment, review and reform regulations (laws), the future shape of the industry and the future shape of conservation and the parks system.

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