Media Release – May 2nd 2016
Logging of old growth forest in East Gippsland has been halted after citizen surveys documented a large population of Greater Gliders in a VicForests logging coupe near Bendoc on Wednesday night.
Greater Gliders are Australia’s largest gliding marsupial, capable of gliding up to 100 meters. They need large old trees with hollows to sleep in during the day.
The law requires Greater Glider habitat to be protected from logging when more than 10 individuals are recorded on a 1km survey. GECO’s citizen science survey recorded 11 Greater Gliders in 850m.
The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) will conduct their own survey this week. Logging has been put on hold in the forest until the DELWP investigation concludes.
In January this year, logging in a separate area of forest on the Errinundra plateau was halted and 100 hectares of habitat protected after GECO surveys recorded 15 Greater Gliders in forest that was being logged.
“Once again, citizen scientists have had to step in and identify protected species at the 11th hour to prevent unlawful logging. The Environment Minister Lisa Neville and her department are not enforcing compliance and allowing poorly planned and unlawful logging operations in threatened species habitat“ said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.
“The logging industry’s self-regulated compliance system is dysfunctional and the Andrew’s government are allowing wholesale destruction of Victoria’s protected species habitat,” said Ed Hill.
“We notified DELWP and sent them our survey report before 9am on Thursday, however logging was not stopped until after 2pm. A number of giant trees that we saw and photographed Greater Gliders in have been cut down illegally,” said Ed Hill
“It is unclear has to why logging took so long to stop, the area has phone reception and our information was forwarded to VicForests by DELWP before 10am. Logging that occurred while VicForests knew about our report would be unlawful,’
“We are seeking legal advice about this operation. VicForests stopped logging to cooperate with the DELWP investigation only after logging contractors cut down the same trees our report documented protected species in,” said Ed Hill
“The trees are not commercially valuable; they are old, rotten and hollow and were high quality habitat. Some of the Greater Gliders could have already been killed,” said Ed Hill.
Media contact: Ed Hill 0414 199 645