UPDATE: Two areas have been taken off the immediate schedule, and state-owned VicForests told the courts they won't log forests in 'Alla Turca' till next year, and all the logging machines have left the area!
Environment East Gippsland (EEG) have secured a court injunction to halt logging in 'Alla Turca' coupe in Errinundra! Logging had only just started when the injunction was granted on Wednesday afternoon. For the last month private security has been stationed 24/7 in the area to prevent community members and supporters from protesting the logging. The area is just down the road from Camp Errinundra which has stalled logging for over 3 months.
Thanks to the combined efforts of citizen scientists, EEG and their legal team, and all the folks who've taken action and been out to camp, the gliders are safe for now! But the fight is far from over. There are still hundreds of areas up for logging across East Gippsland, and the legal battle for these forests is just beginning.
Drone footage of logging in the area before the injunction was granted
Despite the Errinundra, Bendoc and Cottonwood areas being critical refuges which survived the devastating fires, more than 60 coupes are scheduled in the area. A number of threatened species have been found including Greater Gliders, Sooty Owl, Yellow-bellied Glider and Long-footed Potoroo. Community members have been calling for protection of the area for months.
Pressure from direct action and citizen science forced the government's logging agency to remove one area from the immediate schedule where protests originally started. Since the start of the blockade camp in late January over 5 people have been arrested and charged. For months GECO have been arguing with the Department over putting in the legal protections for high densities of Greater Gliders found across the coupes in Errinundra. But the Department refused to put in the zones to protect the gliders.
Errinundra refuge area from 'After the Fires: protecting our forest refuges'
There are still hundreds of coupes scheduled for logging across key refuges for threatened species across East Gippsland. Our report with VNPA shows there's still 90,000ha of unprotected forests up for logging across key refuges, including the Cottonwood and Errinundra areas. Since we released the report over 1,000 people have emailed decision makers calling for protection of these refuges. There's no public support for logging to continue after the devastating fires.
Giant Cut-tail Ash found by GECO citizen scientists in a scheduled logging coupe, Seller's Rd
The injunction has halted imminent logging of 'Alla Turca'. But it's just the beginning of the fight to protect East Gippsland's precious forests. We're going to keep doing all we can to keep the pressure up! We're hosting a citizen science camp over the Queen's birthday long weekend, click here for more details and to RSVP.
We live and work on the stolen lands of the Bidewell, Monero, and Gunnai First Nations peoples of so-called East Gippsland. We pay our deepest respects to Elders past and present.