A VicForests coupe is under investigation by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) for logging of protected rainforest in East Gippsland's Cabbage Tree Creek Area. GECO surveys identified logged rainforest buffers, 40 rare Slender and Skirted Tree-ferns and 75 rainforest associated species. DELWP are scheduled to visit the coupe this week.
Rare Slender and Skirted Tree-ferns
“VicForests have shown systemic failure to stick to clearly worded rules and regulations that are meant to protect rainforest. This is the third time rainforest logging operations have been investigated by DELWP in just three months. VicForests has shown blatant contempt for the law and for East Gippsland’s unique rainforest areas that occur throughout their logging coupes in the region,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.
“Rare and protected Slender tree-ferns and an even rarer hybrid, the Skirted Tree-fern, have also been detected within and adjacent to the logging area. VicForests and DELWP are required to create a 250-meter management zone that restricts logging around Slender Tree-ferns, this has not been done and logging has already come too close, “ said Ed Hill.
“There are just 337 Slender Tree-fern records and only 102 Skirted Tree-ferns on Victorian biodiversity data bases. The 40 we found in a short period will already be a significant boost to their known numbers, but we’re hoping DELWP will properly asses the area to identify the extent of the population and prevent logging from coming any closer,” said Ed Hill.
"This coupe had not been subject to a legally required ecological survey, so the rare ferns and rainforest values were not identified before the bulldozers came in. Once again it’s left up to citizen scientists to identify protected forest values before they are destroyed. Under a shonky system of self regulation and a ‘log don’t look’ approach to planning, VicForests with full assistance from the Andrew’s government are regularly logging protected species habitat.”
“If Environment Minister Lisa Neville wants to protect rainforest, she needs to get tough with VicForests. DELWP can hardly keep up with the volume of illegal logging breaches; they need to use their regulatory powers to prosecute VicForests in the courts before they make a further mockery of the law,” said Ed Hill.
Media contact: Ed Hill – 0414199645