The Bad news is that VicForests continues to clearfell in ecologically valuable forests which have barely had an adequate survey or none at all. This means VicForests continue, as always, to destroy rare wildlife, rainforest, giant trees and critical habitat.
The Good news is that the surveyors from GECO again found a massive breach of the law by VicForests and managed to halt the logging. VicForests had sent their logging crew into a stand of old growth forest near Bendoc on the Errinundra Plateau, habitat of the protected Greater Gliders. A very high density of 11 gliders along just 850m of forest were detected during a random spotlighting session on 28th April 2016 in an area that was being logged. This high density population was not picked up by VicForests - but should have been.
If over 10 Greater Gliders per km are found, it triggers protection of 100 ha. The 11 over 850m were photographed and GPS’d and then the report was emailed to the department (DELWP) at 8:55 on 28th. Early that afternoon, the logging had been halted. But during those 5 hours, the logging crew had taken out most trees the surveyors had GPS’d and photographed with the 11 Gliders. Could this have been deliberate to make verifying the gliders’ presence impossible?
This stand of forest was one of the priority areas being negotiated by the Victorian Forest Taskforce for deferral from logging, but was instead targeted by VicForests to log; an extremely provocative tactic it seems, to force the negotiations to fall into a heap – which would please VicForests, we’re sure.
Despite this, the citizen science and vollie surveyors just keep exposing these tricks and kicking goals for habitat protection. They are determined to chase VicForests off the map!
This satellite image shows the extent of destruction of the adjoining forest. The cleared forest is obvious. Lighter green is regenerating logged forest, dark green is mature/old forest and the red points indicate the Glider detections.
STOP PRESS: on the 18th May, DELWP confirmed that the trigger point for protection had been verified by their surveyors and 100 ha of forest will now be protected!