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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

This March update includes;

  1. Climate Action Summit – Melb April 8–9th
  2. How Japan's paper mills fared
  3. VicForests saves a big tree
  4. Mobile phone needed
  5. Radio National interview – forests and the law.
  6. Forests Forever Ecology Camp – this Easter
  7. Submissions due Fed Government Timber Industry Inquiry
  8. Wildlife surveys continue
  9. Duck shooting – vote now!

1) Climate Action Summit – Melb April 8–9th

Register at:
$10/day for unwaged and $25/day for waged.
On the Sunday, Steve Meacher, Yarra Ranges climate and forest campaigner will convene a Workshop to help draw climate and forest campaigns together. It's called Save and restore our forests and is part of the session on Campaigning to Stop Climate Crimes in 2011 to be run between 11am–1pm.
For all info regarding the summit, visit: or click here for the PDF weekend program, jam packed with informative workshops, panel discussions, knowledgeable speakers and participants – followed by a NO NEW COAL protest and wrap-up on Monday.

2) Paper mills hit by Earthquake and Tsunami.

March 11, 2011 – The massive 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan and killed hundreds of thousands of people has destroyed and damaged much infrastructure including nuclear power plants. Of interest to us is the damage it has done to several pulp and paper mills, putting some out of commission.
Several large integrated pulp mills and receiving ports for wood chips from North America, South Africa and Australia are located in the more severely hit areas. Other intact ports can take the ships but it could make it more difficult.
Nippon Paper Group reports that two of its mills, Ishinomaki and Iwanuma, have been offline since the quake.
The Ishinomaki facility's stock was destroyed and the site flooded with mud from the tsunami, while half the stock at the Iwanuma mill was a write-off. There was some structural damage to Iwanuma's buildings as well. Damage to the mill's machinery was still being assessed.
Elsewhere, in Fukushima prefecture, Nippon's mill in Nakoso has also stopped production, and stocks there have been significantly damaged. Further afield on the north-western coast, Nippon's Akita mill has stopped production.
All its stocks in the Sendai port, on the east coast and close to the quake epicenter, have been destroyed, and it lost some stock at a Tokyo port as well.
Nippon's other mills are still working, but there are concerns about how they will obtain woodchips and pulp in the medium term.
Read more here Nippon Paper, Mitsubishi Paper and Hokuetsu Kishu Hit by Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
Some believe the remaining mills can absorb the lost capacity, though power limitations could impact the industry across the country. The Chinese market is now bigger than the Japanese, but they expect to pay much less than Australia sells woodchips for. If they have to drop their profits any further, this will impact on on Australia's woodchip industry.
The lack of capacity to process pulp could also cast a dark shadow over the market for pulp from the planned Gunns mill in Tassie. The restoration of much of Japan's destroyed industry and infrastructure could take years. Not wanting to sound mercenary in the depth of this disaster but it could be the breathing space the forests need to see the market for our export woodchips crumble away.

3) VICFORESTS protect protected trees.

Being such an environmentally sensitive logging agency, VicForests decided to do a bit of self promotion by claiming it had found a giant tree that it will save. Halleluiah .

They claim the tree is the first to be protected under VicForests' new Giant Tree Protection policy. Well, the DSE introduced this prescription in 2004! So VicForests - after 7 years - have saved one big tree! If they have had to protect giant trees of over 4 metres diameter since 2004, why are they now pretending it's their very own new shiny policy?

The other thing that was rather amusing is that the photo of this giant messmate tree is in the thick of regenerating eucalypts from a previous clearfell operation that probably knocked out all of its giant brothers and sisters! This one would have been left as a seed/habitat tree. So it's not really under any threat of being logged, as they claim.

VicForests said their new policy on "giant trees" (sic) will also "see every effort made to protect trees which are greater than 3m in diameter", which should mean almost all old growth areas would be left alone.

Info from VicForests' Media Release - Wednesday, March 16th 2011 Protecting Victoria's "Giants"

4) Home offered for unwanted mobile phone.

EEG's head office is out of range of mobile towers, but occasionally a mobile phone is needed when venturing outside the valley to cities, courts, rallys etc.
Jill's old B&W Nokia mobile went missing last week while in the Blue Mountains (see below). If anyone has an old 'moby' that could be recycled, please consider giving it a new home with Jill. Thanks. Nothing too fancy or complicated would be great.
If you can help please contact Jill via email at .

5) The law is an ass – ABC RN interview.

Jill was invited to Katoomba in NSW last weekend to take part in a Radio National interview conducted by Gregg Borschmann who produces the "Heartlands" series of interviews. Peter Gordon (ex Slater and Gordon) was also interviewed. The forest campaign and the way the law is used to favour the industry was the example of the crooked legal system Peter was talking about. It will be edited and put to air in a few weeks.

5) 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.

6) Federal Government Timber Industry Inquiry

Just a reminder that submissions are due for the Fed Government Timber Industry Inquiry this Friday.... even a one line submission if you can. Click here for more details
Please don't put too much effort into it as these things are pre-determined, but it would be good to up the numbers of submissions from the public who want forests to be valued for things besides woodchips,
FYI, Judith Ajani has already submitted her very informed comments and they are available to read under 'Submissions' here .

7) Wildlife surveys continue

There are still wildlife surveys being carried out by keen volunteers in East Gippsland. The cameras continue to keep finding rare wildlife - proving that where VicForests plan to log, there are endangered species. VicForests have also recently been found clearfelling forests which we believe should have been surveyed before logging. We are currently looking into this apparent disregard of the now clarified law.

8) Duck shooting – poll

Urgent – please vote: "Yes" – duck shooting should be banned – on the Weekly Times website and ask your friends to vote.

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

FORESTS - our breathing space!