VicForests forced to survey

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis)Our latest legal action has today forced VicForests‬ to survey Kuark forest for threatened species.

With help from our lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia, Environment East Gippsland's latest legal action has seen VicForests agree to halt logging and survey for rare wildlife and plants in a stand of East Gippsland’s forests rich in threatened species.

Since mid-January and while negotiations have been going on, VicForests kept on clearfelling this amazingly valuable forest. The talented team from GECO surveyed and found 4 rare and threatened wildlife and 2 plant species. But so much has been destroyed in this time. The area clearly should have been surveyed by trained biologists before the chainsaws moved in. VicForests refused.

The species recorded in the Kuark forest about 30km NE of Orbost, were the Long-footed Potoroo, Yellow-bellied Gliders, a new species of galaxias fish that only occurs in Kuark, a likely new, as yet undescribed species of crayfish, and two rare plants that should have 250m Special Management Zones applied.

What gems have been lost over the years because VicForests (with a vested interest in logging, not conservation) calls the shots on whether an area should have a survey before it is clearfelled and burnt.

Sadly, Minister Neville’s Environment Department consistently refuses to order VicForests to survey for rare and threatened flora and fauna in areas slated for logging, so it’s left up to community groups to both survey - and engage lawyers.

While we welcome this belated action from VicForests we'll be watching closely and are leaving our options open at this stage.

Read the EEG media release