Over fifty people converged in Goongerah this weekend for the ninth GECO citizen science survey camp. People from across Gippsland, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra took part in old growth forest walks, forest carbon accounting surveys, remote fauna camera deployment and data collection, spotlighting surveys for greater gliders and rainforest mapping.
Several forests scheduled to be logged by VicForests were surveyed to identify conservation values and presence of protected species.
Rainforest surveys in the Goongerah forest mapped Cool Temperate Rainforest adjacent to a proposed logging coupe. Participants learned about the legal protections for rainforest and how to use a GPS and a plant identification guide to map the boundary of rainforest stands. This data is important to collect to make sure VicForests logging operations are not illegally encroaching on protected rainforest areas.
The data collected will be compiled into a report and submitted to the Department of Environment to ensure the legally required protections are implemented before logging can commence.
Photo: Identifying Cool Temperate Rainforest adjacent to a planned logging area
Surveys in old growth forest on the Errinundra plateau, directly adjacent to Errinundra National Park, recorded dozens of large old trees and mapped good quality habitat for greater gliders in preparation for future spotlighting surveys.
Photo: Walking in threatened old growth forest on the Errinundra plateau
Recent logging operations were visited. Participants came face to face with the damage being done from current logging in East Gippsland.
On Sunday night we bunkered down at the environment centre to avoid a rainy night that stopped us surveying. Forest films and presentations on GECO's campaign and the ecology of the greater glider were delivered to an enthusiastic and engaged crew.
Photo: Presentations at Goongerah Environment Centre
On Monday remote fauna cameras were deployed and data collected from previously deployed cameras. Several different forest species were recorded including the Endangered Long-footed Potoroo. Five remote cameras were checked, all within proposed VicForests logging areas. The Long-footed Potoroo detection will result in a new protection zone that is required under Victorian law.
Photos: Checking camera data (left) Endangered Long-footed Potoroo (right)
On Monday night spotlighting surveys for greater gliders collected valuable data on locations of this protected species within VicForests proposed logging areas.
Photo: Spotlighting surveys searched the canopy for Greater Gliders
On Tuesday we headed to the Kuark forest to check out rainforest and old growth threatened by logging. After stopping at the Jack Rd Helipad for spectacular views, we went walking in the iconic rainforest areas of Larissa Lane in the heart of Kuark.
Photo: Group photo at the Jack rd helipad on final trip to Kuark
The next camp will be in January, details to be announced later this week.