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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

Autumnal greetings. This March update includes;

  1. Court orders.
  2. VicForests – more to come
  3. David Lindenmayer on logging and fires
  4. Sound recordist needed
  5. Coalition on the record – surveys not good enough.
  6. Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act now shared by logging interests.
  7. Forests left out of carbon pricing.
  8. Forest booklet – photographers needed
  9. Book now for the Easter Forests Forever Ecology Camp
  10. Wipe for Wildlife – International Year of Forests
  11. Duck Rescue help wanted
  12. Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update
  13. Australia's Wood and Wood Products Industry Situation and Outlook
  14. Useful links
  15. Ethical paper pledge
  16. Tasmania doing a back-flip on agreement

1) Court case – what's happening?

VicForests was ordered to adhere to the Precautionary Principle and pay EEG 90% of our legal costs. So VicForests has contracted out wildlife surveys in some forests planned for clearfelling. Only some chosen areas are being surveyed while others are being logged. The Minister refuses to answer our written questions regarding how these areas are chosen. We will be pursuing this.
Our legal costs are still in their process pipeline and could take another 2-4 months until we see them.

2) VicForests – more to come.

VicForests has been caught out again – with recent newspaper reports in both the Weekly Times and The Age showing them up as incompetent managers of both money and forests. Of course the CEO David Pollard, defended their record saying they've been misrepresented. The Minister responsible for them (Ag Minister Peter Walsh - Nationals) has also defended VicForests.
Despite a pro-logging industry consultant, URS,carrying out the assessment, they were unable to hide the appalling performance record for making a loss, being unable to regenerate thousands of hectares of public land and overestimating log resources by 65%. David Pollard was on the radio indignantly telling the ABC program host that the millions it has obtained from the government wasn't a loan, it was an overdraft. ?!
We have obtained a copy of the URS report and our research department is currently going over it. There's more to be exposed yet – and it aint pretty!

3) David Lindenmayer on logging and fires

In this ABC program (the final in the "Out of the Ashes" series), David Lindenmayer says that logged forest is more likely to burn that unlogged forest. View the programs here.

4) Sound recordist

We are currently putting a storyboard together for YouTube on forests and climate. We have the voice over artist and story, but need the help of a Melb based sound or voice recordist. If you can help us, please contact Jill on 5154 0145 or email me at .

5) Coalition complains about lack of surveys – on the record

There are some very interesting debates in Hansard going back to 2004 when VicForests was being set up. Here is Phil Honeywood, then shadow Minister for the Environment:

“In particular the Victorian forest management system does not ensure that proper pre-logging environmental assessment is undertaken. We also believe, leaving aside the deficiencies in Victoria's biodiversity conservation legislation, the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and its implementation, the Victorian forest management system fails to implement the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act as well”.

6) Logging Minister now to decide on FFGA

Under Labor, the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFGA)was administered by the Environment Department - DSE. Under the Coalition, administration of key parts of the Act will be shared by the Environment Department AND Agriculture i.e Peter Walsh's Department, which is in charge of VicForests! Under the changes, Peter Walsh (National Party minister) will have a say under section 3 (Listing of species) and section 5 (Interim Conservation Orders). This change came under 'General Order for Administration of Acts' – and oh so quietly.
General Orders available here
This is a blatant ploy to white ant the FFG process. The Coalition also made a pre-election commitment to ensure more 'industry stakeholders' were put on the board of VicForests!

7) Carbon pricing and forests

The banner says it all.
In mid Feb South East Forest Rescue (NSW)
halted logging operations in Bodalla State Forest.

“....forestry will be exempt under the carbon pricing mechanism announced yesterday.” So goes the joint media release from Greg Combe and Joe Ludwig on the 24th February. We will see Agriculture exempted and possibly the coal industry receive free permits to pollute or huge compo. Now logging and land clearing, the cause of 20% of our country's greenhouse gasses, looks like being given a free ride under a carbon pricing scheme. But possibly it will be included later down the track – let's hope.

8) Photo book of East Gippsland

One of our members has a plan to produce a 32 page book on the forests of East Gippsland. She may be calling on our network of photographers to help fill the pages. If the project goes ahead it would be an A4 quality booklet of beautiful forest and eucalypt photos that will sell for about $ 10 – $15. Will keep you posted.

9) Forests Forever 2011

The ever popular annual Easter Forests Forever Ecology Camp will be held again at Goongerah this year, from 22nd – 25th April.
Book online here .
Please book early as places are limited.
Click here to download the Forests Forever 2011 flier as a PDF.

10) IYF

The United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of the Forests in an effort to raise awareness of sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all forest types. The Year of Biodiversity didn't achieve much last year, but at least it might raise awareness, even though we really need to raise hell.
Locally, Zoos Victoria's conservation campaign “Wipe for Wildlife” aims to get people to protect forests by using recycled toilet paper.

Wipe for Wildlife Zoos Victoria.
International Year of the Forests United Nations.

11) Join the 2011 duck rescue team

If you'd like to help our friends this duck shooting season – read on.
Just when our native waterbirds are struggling to breed up after 13 years of drought, a full 3-month Victorian recreational duck shooting season has been announced by the new Baillieu government, with over 20,000 licensed duck shooters allowed to take 10 birds per day.
There are only 15 wildlife officers to patrol the whole of Victoria and from inside information we know there is no finance available to police the duck shooting season.
Our waterbirds need your help - join the Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescue team. They will be protecting birds on the Opening weekend (March 19), and every weekend of the season. Go to to join, or call Lynn on 0414 816 509.

12) Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update

from Wood Resources International LLC
Global trade of wood chips was up 25% in 2010 because of increased production of pulp and paper products worldwide. China showed the greatest growth in chip imports with an increase over 400% in the past two years, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly. Australia continues to be the major exporter and shipped 11% more in 2010 than in the previous year.
Trade of wood chips is likely to increase in 2011 as the global economy slowly recovers, and as a consequence, the demand for most forest products will improve. In addition, many energy companies in Europe are searching for new sources of biomass, which will further expand the overseas trade of wood chips, biomass and wood pellets for burning.

13) Australia's Wood and Wood Products Industry Situation and Outlook
Dr Judith Ajani

This is a meaty analysis of the situation at the moment, but the summary at the start is interesting. Basically saying plantations are doing it for 82% of our needs, there's a big shift to softwood rather than increasing imports of hardwood from overseas, and that export woodchips are the biggest market for our native forests. She is recommending the govt do a big reshift in planning for timber needs, rather than endless subsidies; plantations are the way to meet all our needs in an economically sensible manner. Forests should be used as carbon stores and plantations for timber production. She also mentions the insanity of plans to burn native forests for power at a time when their value as carbon stores alone is being ignored.
Download the entire paper as a PDF here

14) Links

Say No to Woodchip Power Sign the Petition here

Sign the pledge to boycott Reflex here

'Stop Native Forest Fueled Electricity in Australia'
Join the Facebook Cause here

15) Reflex action (a repeat request – so excuse us if you've read it)

Reflex is made from ripping down the beautiful ash forests of the Central Highlands, Melbourne's water catchments and the home of the endangered state faunal emblem, the Leadbeaters Possum. The Wilderness Society and other enviro groups have been trying to negotiate a win-win outcome with the makers of Reflex paper for the last five years. They have been given false promises and the royal run-around. Nothing has changed.
In the early days the paper company was known as APM, AMCOR, Paperlinx and then Australian Paper. It's now 100% Japanese owned – by Nippon; the very same company that's woodchipping East Gippsland's forests.
So TWS have now begun a new campaign that goes for Nippon's jugular. People are being urged to not buy Reflex paper. Companies and businesses are being asked to pledge not to use Reflex, and the major sellers of Reflex are also being targeted as having blood on their hands. An ethical paper website has been set up which gives alternatives to Reflex paper.
Please sign up now as individuals, and spread far and wide. If you are an organisation, or know of anyone who could sign on behalf of an organisation or business, please pass on to sign the pledge.
Please click here and sign on the Ethical Paper pledge
Read the SMH article here

16) Tasmania doing a back-flip on agreement

Just 2 weeks out from plans to stop logging key forests in Tasmania, the state's Resources Minister Bryan Green, is doing a back flip on the agreed moratorium on logging important forests. The agreement was to stop logging key areas while the restructure packages are sorted. Now he wants the packages in place before logging stops. In the last 3 months, Forestry Tasmania has been targeting some of the best forests, forcing people to take protest actions. Logging was planned to stop in these areas by March 15.
Read the Australian newspaper article here

Jill Redwood
(and the EEG crew)
Environment East Gippsland Inc

FORESTS - our breathing space!