Below is an extract from a media release from Jill Redwood about the Brown Mountain injunction that was granted on 14 September - a win for the forest at last! And great news for the hard working volunteer surveyers who have been out there in all conditions setting up cameras and hair tubes to find endangered species - without their efforts Brown Mountain would in all likelihood be logged as we speak.
In a nut shell, there will be no logging at Brown Mountain until after the matter goes to trial later in the year. The judge's comments are particluarly interesting - check out
So with Brown mountain safe for the moment, we are free to look at other old growth forest areas under threat of logging this summer, including Survey Road.
In an historic win for an environment group, the Victorian Supreme Court today decided it is appropriate to grant an injunction restraining government logging monopoly VicForests from logging two areas of forest on Brown Mountain in East Gippsland.
"This is the first time a court order has been made to prevent the destruction of old growth forests in Victoria until a trial about the lawfulness of the logging is completed", said Jill Redwood, coordinator of Environment East Gippsland, the group that took the extraordinary court action.
"The only reason the injunction wasn't granted today is that VicForests has asked the Court to order EEG to provide a large amount of money to secure its undertaking to pay any damages which flow to VicForests from the granting of the injunction. This will be argued in court on Thursday," said Ms Redwood.
"After we discovered a rare Long-footed Potoroo in the area a few weeks ago, VicForests still insisted that it would log the area immediately. We had to rush this to court to stop them," said Ms Redwood.
In his judgment, Justice Forrest referred to photographs of logging, and said they "demonstrate the apparent total obliteration of the area of native forest as a result of logging and the subsequent burning off. To put it bluntly, once the logging is carried out and the native habitat destroyed, then it cannot be reinstated or repaired in anything but the very, very long term."
Logging is set to re-commence in Brown Mountain again, despite claims by the Victorian Environment Minister that it has been "permanently protected". Logging was halted early this year so that endangered species surveys could be carried out (click here for info). However even though the site was found to contain rich densities of arboreal mammals, government surveys failed to find endangered species such as the Long Footed Potoroo or Spiny Crayfish.
In a cynical attempt at media spin, the government then claimed to have "saved" brown mountain by announcing the protection of an area that was not scheduled to be logged, meanwhile planning to send in logging machines within a week.
On the day this announcement was made, a long footed potoroo (see picture below) was photographed by an infrared camera, set up by local volunteer conservationists. This site was confirmed by DSE Flora and Fauna last week.
A writ was served on Vicforests last Tuesday asking for an injunction on logging, based on the lack of adequate endangered species surveys. the court is likely to decide early this week whether to grant a permanent injunction on logging. If they don't grant an injunction, logging may recommence in Brown Mountain immediately.
So Stay Tuned!
Tuesday 27 January 2009
Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik visited the Brown Mountain area over the Australia Day weekend and described the destruction of the old growth forest to the east of Brown Mountain Creek as 'heartbreaking'.
"I spent Sunday morning walking through one fantastic stand of old growth to the west of Brown Mountain Creek, where trees with 11 and 12 metre circumferences towered above us. They could be up to 400 years old," said Ms Pennicuik. Anyone who went there could only be awed and inspired and would want to see it protected.
"I was devastated to then visit an adjacent area that has been clear felled by Vic Forests over November and December. To see what just a few weeks ago was magnificent rainforest smashed to pieces is just terrible. It is senseless. Giant trees that have lived for hundreds of years and were home to threatened species have been just knocked to the ground in what now resembles a moonscape.
"This area is significant old growth forest of high conservation value because of the diversity of species, the age range of the trees - young, medium, and the giants that are hundreds of years old. It supports a wealth of native animals including threatened species such as the sooty owl, the greater and yellow bellied gliders and the spiny crayfish, which was spotted in the creek," she said.
During the 2006 state election the ALP pledged to protect all the remaining significant old growth forest in East Gippsland.
"It is a mistake by the government not to preserve the whole area as a vital link between the Errinundra and Snowy River National Parks. Even though one part of it has now been lost, it is not too late to prevent the destruction of any more of it," she said.
"I call on the Brumby government to take control of Vic Forests and put a stop to the planned logging in two more coupes at Brown Mountain. This area was listed as part of the National Estate in the 1980's and the values that enabled that listing are still there and are more important than ever," she said.
"This significant old growth forest is owned by the Victorian people, not by Vic Forests. It is far more valuable to the community now and in the future as carbon storage, as part of the Snowy River catchment and as an area of irreplaceable natural beauty than as a pile of woodchips heading to Japan," she said.
For further comment: Sue Pennicuik – 0409 055 875
Update from Jill Redwood
Loads of news to report - Brown Mountain (on Australia Day)
Sue Pennicuik drove up to Brown Mt to witness the destruction and breaches of the law which have been occurring. Spoke with contractors (in Stony Creek), spoke with protesters. Walked into these areas - where there has been rainforest logging, the illegal taking of a giant tree outside the designated logging boundary and where there is much evidence of the illegal taking if burls (commercial operation).
Saw the endangered crayfish - Yabbie races across the rest of Aust - endangered Orbost Spiny Cray (Euastacus diversus) has been discovered in Brown Mt Creek - with this one, it's a race against time to have it recognised by the government before its habitat is logged. DSE are more worried about whether the people who discovered it had a permit rather than if the crayfish warrants protection from bulldozers near its creek.
High populations of arboreal (tree living) mammals also discovered in Brown Mt this weekend by researchers - their densities should trigger protection for the area under the Forest Management Plan prescriptions. Immediate halt to logging plans while the rich wildlife site is verified by DSE. Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders (Potoroos also found across the track).
Many breaches constantly being discovered
1. bulldozing of mixed rainforest along Brown Mt Creek in readiness to start clearfelling the adjoining stand of ancient forest.
2. contractor/logger being investigated for theft of burls.
3. Huge old tree has been felled outside the coupe boundary - illegal logging.
4. VicForests has prohibited access through the tourist road into the park for the past 3 months of holidays - with no alternative route offered. Only two days ago after weeks of complaint have they made a change that allows tourists into the National Park! Who owns these areas!?
5. logging has continued against occ health and safety regs when members of the public are present. Understand that Worksafe is investigating.
6. Bulldozers used oil filters left lying on the ground contaminating soil and eventually water course.
This is how the Brumby Government treats our National Heritage of ancient forests and threatened species - on Australia Day!
Members of the public can be and are charged for entering these areas to expose the illegal goings on - but no one is checking on the loggers or VicForests!
Bulldozer boundary track has been put around the adjoining stand of old growth in prep for the start of clearfelling this week!
It's one minute to midnight. Please help in whatever way you can -
get up here to help stall the logging -
call the Premier's office (bypass Jennings) 9651 5000 and get outraged by any of the above ...
pass this email around to friends or any journalists you know.
find a VIP/sports celeb etc who might like to help up the profile of this issue (cottage accommodation if they want to visit)
there could be a new group of older women (seniors) about to start getting active. Do you know others who could join in?
call talkback radio and speak your heart
write short pithy letters to newspapers (dailys or metro - eastern burbs useful).
handwrite (most influential), type or email a letter to Brumby demanding an immediate halt to such a rich area. Write to the Treasurer John Lenders (c/- Parliament House Spring St Melb) demanding VicForests be pulled into line - for economic and on the ground accountability.
in haste ... Jill