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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

Good news updates!

  1. Biomass burning knocked out by new carbon price scheme
  2. Biodiversity gets $1 billion – yes Billion
  3. CSIRO - Forests are key carbon soaks
  4. Gunns Triabunna mill in Tassie sold for tourism
  5. Gunns sells off Green Triangle assets
  6. Aust Paper looks at Green Triangle pine as feed stock
  7. Nippon Paper puts up its prices
  8. The Last Stand and Markets for Change
  9. PaperlinX and Aust Envelopes goes under
  10. Green School comes to Melbourne
  11. Nippon loses battle against ‘greenie’

Bad news updates!
  1. Brown Mt – roading alert
  2. Virgin Airlines founder Branson wants to use euc biofuel for his planes!
  3. Forestry Tas plans to log areas agreed for protection
  4. VicForest rewarded with $1.3 M.

Other news
  1. Free Forest Law Workshop for Forest Campaigners
  2. $1 million a day in lost carbon stores to log SE Aust forests
  3. Volunteer 4WDers and scouts wanted
  4. Planet Ark feeds us logging industry spin.
  5. Forests and climate forum – Canberra 13th August

But first off, thanks:
  • To our donors who help keep EEG’s wheels turning while VicForests prevaricates and stalls over the court order to pay 90% of our Brown Mountain legal costs (since last September),
  • And to all those who emailed and wrote to the Fed govt ministers over their opposition to forest furnaces – it helped! Read on …


1) Biomass burning

Forests have come out well in this Energy Future scheme (called the Carbon Tax) thanks to the public and a deal done by the Greens to exclude burning forests for power to be termed ‘renewable energy’. Several of these plans for forest furnaces now won’t be able to claim Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). This will tip the scale to make burning forests for electricity economically unviable. However there’s still the possibility that the SEFE woodchip mill at Eden will push ahead with plans to produce small fuel pellets from woodchips to export to Asia and Europe to burn for power. They are also looking at other ways to avoid scrutiny and go ahead with burning only ‘plantation waste’. Yeah right.

The Gillard Government’s Carbon pricing scheme is far from perfect but it’s a damned good start considering the opposition from Abbott and the fossil fuel industries. Plus there’s $2 billion for climate and environmental projects.

Forestry Tasmania says it’s still going ahead with plans to build a biomass burner despite the ruling. This could be bluster and dummy spitting, or it could be another outrageous forest-annihilating, tax-payer funded insanity to keep the chest thumping, logging brotherhood alive and welfare dependent in Tasmania.

2) $1 Billion for biodiversity

As part of the new Clean Energy Future Package, a Biodiversity Fund of almost $1 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) was announced on 10th July. Over the first six years there’ll be $946 million for restoring, protecting or managing biodiverse carbon stores. This is more than biodiversity has seen for decades – if ever!

This includes
  • reforestation and revegetation in areas of high conservation value including wildlife corridors, rivers, streams and wetlands
  • management and protection of biodiverse ecosystems, including publicly owned native forests and land under conservation covenants or subject to land clearing restrictions
  • action to prevent the spread of invasive species across connected landscapes.
As well as the biodiversity fund, there’s almost another billion to go towards various carbon farming programs, education and climate research.

For more details check out this site.

3) CSIRO - Forests are key carbon soaks

As one forest campaigner said – formally recognising the carbon potential of forests was a “game changer".

What we have been saying for years has finally been shown to be right by the CSIRO. The world’s intact forests absorb about 1/3rd of our carbon emissions every year. This makes forests the most effective and immediate carbon storage solution we have.

The research which was published in the journal, Science, and made news this week, backs up demands in Australia to protect forests and justifies that some of the carbon tax plan’s $1 billion biodiversity fund, be used to stop logging in state forests.

CSIRO scientist and co-author of the paper, Pep Canadell, said research proved forests should become a priority in any climate protection strategy. He said the capacity of forests to make a difference for climate protection is much bigger than ever thought.

Despite the logging industry claiming that clearfelling is carbon neutral they are still attempting to claim that making chairs and tables from a forest is the real way to ‘lock up’ its carbon. They are going to have a very hard time continuing with this lie now.

The research has been undertaken as part of the Australian Climate Change Science Program, funded jointly by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO.

According to the Australian Forest and Climate Alliance, state forest logging in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW contributes an estimated 10 per cent of Australia's emissions total.

4) Gunns’ Triabunna mill to cater for tourism

Both the government and another logging interest were bidding to buy Gunns’ woodchip mill but tourism entrepreneurs Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood bought the mill for $10 million. The Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, has said the forest industry in the south will have to shut down if the woodchip mill stopped woodchipping.

Read the ABC "The World Today" coverage here

5) Gunns sells its SA/Vic plantation assets

Under pressure to pay its debts, Gunns has sold its plantation assets in the Green Triangle around the Vic/SA border for about $107 million - less than half the listed value. The sale is believed to be to US-based private investment manager and forestry specialist GMO. Gunns has been trading at historic lows recently.

Read The Age article here

6) Australian Paper might buy pine wood from the Green Triangle

This item was on the ABC Gippsland news one morning and didn’t seem to go much further. They might have been thinking out loud or they might be starting to realize they won’t get FSC eco-certification for their Reflex paper if they rely on native forests supplied to them by VicForests.

AP is investigating hauling its feedstock from the Green Triangle plantations near the SA border. They said this was due to the native forest ‘feedstock’ becoming unreliable due to drought and bushfires as well as the pressure to move out of native forests. It’s 500 km between the plantations and the mill, but if Japan’s paper factories can profit carting our woodchips half way across the world, why can't Australian Paper half way across the state?

7) Nippon/Australian Paper (Nippon owned) has price hike for its paper

A minimum markup of 10% will be imposed on Nippon paper products in September due to ‘a new upward trend in the price of raw materials and fuels’. Maybe they can’t compete with cheap Indonesian paper any longer. Hopefully the cheap and nasty brands will also need to up their prices or even better, economizing on paper use will become an everyday part of life, as well as recycled paper getting a look into the shops.

ps. Remember to insist that your paper supplier or Officeworks offer a genuine 100% post consumer recycled copy paper. This will help reinforce the ethical paper campaign currently having an impact.

8) New markets campaigns get going

Two new groups have recently started campaigning for native forests by hitting the markets rather than appealing to politicians or the media (YES!).

Markets for Change is a new group that is campaigning against well known stores selling native forest timber products, such as Harvey Norman It’s having a real impact! Could these expensive furniture items have once been the illegally exported whole logs that VicForests were allowing to be sent to China (see last EEG e-bulletin

This is the video that Get-Up is asking people send around to friends and family. It’s quite visually impressive. Harvey Norman is hearing the message but not moving yet.

Another group called The Last Stand is also focusing on retailers via direct action and online campaigning. They are aiming for a strong online presence on Facebook, and twitter (thelaststanders), will spread viral videos around and other ideas. They are Ula Majewski, Nicola Paris and Paulie Kimbell.
Email them at if you can help spread their message.

9) Paper maker in trouble

On July 1st, shares in paper and forest products company PaperlinX were placed in a trading halt by the Australian stock exchange (ASX), pending an announcement.

In May, PaperlinX said it was solvent and able to meet its debt obligations and that it expected to report a full-year loss for fiscal 2011 of between $23 million and $30 million, blaming weak economic conditions in key markets.

Another paper business, Australian Envelopes is also in strife. Recently they made 300 workers redundant and are functioning on a skeleton staff of 30. This is despite having about 45% share of the Australian envelope market.

With the rise of the internet, envelopes are becoming redundant.

10) Green school comes to Melbourne!

If you want to be a campaigner for a better world, this is the place to start!
Melbourne Green School, Saturday 30 July - Sunday 31 July.
Fitzroy High School, Falconer St Fitzroy.

Topics include: Leadership, climate change, campaign planning, health, global citizenship, multi-party democracy, biodiversity, media coaching, post growth economics, positive deviance ... discuss today’s most pressing issues, learn new skills, meet like-minded people. There are more than 20 workshops and training sessions to choose from and a fantastic array of presenters.

Fees: $195 standard, $110 low income. This covers the two days plus lunches and dinner on Saturday evening. Part-weekend options also available.

Register online at
See the full program here:

More information about the Melbourne Green School, plus the Darwin Green School (6 August) and Kooma Green School (27-29 August): or phone 0419 877 325

11) SE greenie wins out against international complaint

SE NSW forest campaigner Harriet Swift bought the domain name Harriet has owned the domain since March 2009 and uses it to run a website drawing attention to Nippon Paper’s shocking environmental record.

In June, Japan’s biggest paper producer, Nippon Paper Industries lodged a complaint with the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) against Harriett. It demanded that she surrender the internet domain name it said should belong to Nippon.

The Eden chipmill exports over a million tonnes of native forest woodchips and destroys more than 14,000 hectares of forest in south east NSW and East Gippsland each year. Formerly owned by Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company, the mill was taken over by Nippon Paper in 2003.

This week the verdict from WIPO ruled in favour of Harriet. It said "The Panel is also of the opinion that the Respondent genuinely believes in the criticisms that she is displaying on the Website, and that the Respondent is not operating the Website for any dishonest purposes."
Harriet’s defense lodged with WIPO is at:

Congrats Harriet! A great win and a fantastic precedent for others.

There seems to have been another website spring up recently – to expose Nippon’s record


Unfortunately its not all good news on forests.

1) BROWN MOUNTAIN - roading alert!

There has been a recent discovery of one of the remaining stands of old growth at Brown Mountain (called by the government ‘coupe 27’) having the track which runs along it ‘scalped’ back to open up the edges. This is normally done to help dry out logging roads and allow greater access in wet weather. Is this deliberate provocation?

This is being investigated now and we hope to have an explanation from authorities very soon.

2) Gum tree powered planes?

The founder of Virgin and multi-billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, recently revealed that Virgin Australia will pour profits into researching biofuel made from eucalypts.

To find alternatives to a suspected rise in aviation fuel prices Richard Branson said “The koala bear may one day… its source of food may also be a source of aviation fuel as well”. There wouldn’t be any ‘as well’ about it. It’d be the Koalas or the flight to Bali. Koalas are already in deep strife with populations in steady decline.

Virgin Airway's profits are bankrolling the biofuel research, which began with algae and isobutanol, but are now looking at eucalypt trees.

Richard Branson also said that “… Australia has a lot of eucalyptus trees … so if we're correct it could be a wonderful fuel of the future that won't eat into the food supply”. Well, not our food supply anyway.
Qantas is also working on two biofuel projects.

Read the ABC "PM" coverage here

3) Forestry Tasmania – rotten to their core

I know – hardly news is it. Forestry Tasmania is still planning to clearfell high conservation value forests in the controversial Upper Florentine and Styx valleys despite these areas being earmarked for National Park protection under the new agreement. Roads are planned to be pushed into the heart of these areas in FT’s latest logging plans.

4) The govt rewards VicForests for more shonky management

VicForests has consistently refused to fully regenerate clearfelled forest as required of them since they started managing public forests in 2004. Now the coalition will hand over $1.27 million to try and ‘restore’ (read ‘convert’) logged native forests and employ the loggers in East Gippsland to do it! So more taxpayers money being used to convert forests into tree crops. VicForests was specifically formed to pay its own way, which includes covering the costs of regeneration of public forests. Currently we believe there are around 7,000 ha of failed regrowth forests in East Gippsland, but there hasn’t been any regeneration survey results made available since 2000, and the last report was full of errors. Under the RFA, these were supposed to be made available.


1) Free Forest Law Workshop for Forest Campaigners

Do you need to understand the law that applies to Victoria's forests? Want to know what VicForests does and does not have to do? Or what you can do about it if they don't?

Environment East Gippsland and the Environment Defenders Office are co-hosting a workshop on forest law for forest campaigners. Join us to learn how you can use the law to protect our forests.

When: Wednesday 7 September (exact time TBA)
Where: Lakes Entrance (exact location TBA)
Cost: Free

Email to RSVP or for more information.

2) A million a day in carbon costs in SE Aust

NSW Conservationists calculated that if forests were part of the carbon pricing plan, Forests NSW and VicForests would have to pay $1million a day for the carbon pollution caused by their logging and woodchipping in East Gippsland and Southern NSW.

For carbon cost calculation: -

Inclusion of forests under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) in the new Clean Energy Future plan means genuine carbon accounting should happen. Native forest logging can’t remain as ‘carbon neutral’ when woodchipping them is producing at least 7-9% of Australia’s green house gases (GHG). When landclearing and other logging is combined, it accounts for between 15-18% of the country’s GHG emissions.

Just as Triabunna is now set to become a tourist precinct, conservationists are calling for the Eden woodchip mill to become a woodchip museum and wilderness coast tourism facility being perfectly sited on spectacular Twofold Bay.

3) Ground-truthing rainforest sites of significance

If anyone wants to spend a bit of time in East Gippy, has a 4WD and likes getting off the beaten track, we could need the help of people willing to assist in ground-truthing some important state and national sites of rainforest significance, now in the sights of - guess who for guess what! Volunteers can be fed and accommodated in Goongerah.

4) Planet Ark replies with logging industry spin

Many of our supporters who recently wrote to Planet Ark about its support of logging native forests received a fairly patronizing response. Planet Ark has been sucked in to the logging lobby groups’ spin and regurgitated this back at us. It was unfortunate they never asked for a briefing from green groups or forest campaigners, but simply swallowed the logging industry spin. Planet Ark claims that if HCV and old growth are protected the rest can be logged, if it’s done under some certification scheme. Well, actually, it can’t be. That’s been the whole issue for years! Here are some points they need to be made aware of if you want to email them or reply (please don’t just cut and paste but choose a few points and reword them).

  1. The only truly certified wood will come from well managed plantations – these can be hardwood and softwood.
  2. The protection of only HCV and old growth is inadequate. All forests are important particularly now we desperately need to protect our land carbon stocks.
  3. Half of Australia’s forests have been destroyed since Europeans arrived and about 80% of what remains has been altered and degraded. Every native forest stand is now valuable with potential to be restored.
  4. Logging and land clearing accounts for almost 20% of Australia’s total carbon emissions.
  5. Hancocks FSC certification is highly controversial and being challenged now. The controlled wood certification of Australian Paper is also being reconsidered after the process was shown to have failings. There are currently concerns over FSC certification, globally, not just in Australia.
  6. When a forest is logged there is about 3-5% of its total biomass which ends up as sawn timber. The rest is burnt or woodchipped and soon ends up as carbon pollution. This doesn’t take into account carbon lost from soil disturbance. The massive pulse of carbon released into the atmosphere can never be recaptured in a logging cycle, let alone the ecological complexity or biodiversity.
  7. Plantations can supply most of our timber and paper needs – but we don’t need more established. Australia currently has a plantation glut and many are controversial.
  8. Plantation wood now accounts for about 85% of all sawn timber and wood panels used in Australia.
  9. The only way to sustainably manage forests is to remove all industrial logging and return their function to that of providing water, clean air and habitat, carbon sequestration and storage.
  10. We agree that consumer education on environmentally-friendly timber is needed and we believe this can be done primarily by promoting plantation wood products, not the continued destruction of native forest.

  11. 5) Forests and climate forum – Canberra 13th August

    This fantastic forum is being organised by NatureNet and includes topics and speakers on:
    • FIRE in ‘Landscape Traps’ & Biodiversity Loss. Quotes from Prof. David Lindenmeyer
    • Role of Native Forests in Climate Change Mitigation Professor Brendan Mackey
    • Can Carbon Farming Initiative or ‘eCo-Benefits’ Fund save State Forests? Andrew Macintosh
    • Jobs, Wood, Dollars & Sense Dr. Judith Ajani
    • Forest Stewardship Council in Australia. Michael Spencer
    • Nature conservation under Regional Forest Agreements, Dr. Denis Saunders Dr. Graeme Hamilton, Virginia Young.
    • Law & Order’ in our State Forests: TAS, VIC & NSW. Pepe Clarke, Dr. Phil Pullinger, Jill Redwood, Kirsty Ruddock & Natasha Hammond-Deakin, Vanessa Bleyer.
    • National Forests & Climate Action Campaign. Lyndon Schneider TWS
    • Online action. Paul Oosting from GetUp
    • Forests and markets. Louise Morris Markets for Change
    Plus many other topics and quality speakers on forest activism, land-use changes, state forests in the climate solution...

    $80 or $40 concession, includes lunch and morning/afternoon teas.

    Visit for more details.

    Seats Limited: Register via facilitator,
    or phone 0417 217 130.
    9am, Theatre, Medical Research Centre, Garran Road, ANU (Building #131)

    Jill Redwood Coordinator
    and the team
    Environment East Gippsland Inc

    FORESTS - our breathing space!