Remember the Defend Errinundra campaign in 2021, which saw over 15 arrests and stopped logging for 5 months? Well, nearly 9000 ha (or over 4000 MCG’s worth!) of this critical climate refuge has now been put into Special Protection Zones, preventing logging. This is a huge win for the hundreds of people that mobilised to protect this unburnt refuge.
As a result of pressure from environment groups, including GECO’s campaign to save Kuark, in early November 2019 Daniel Andrews made the completely false post election declaration that 100% of old growth forest would be protected. It accounted to 90,000 ha at the time.
Amongst other post-election commitments relating to forests, hearing the announcement was hugely relieving. GECO has for decades campaigned to end old growth logging. We thought the trauma of seeing these ancient and complex ecosystems reduced to slash, woodchips, and pulp was ending.
We were so wrong.
Old growth forest in 'No Rush' coupe Swifts Creek, Feb 2022 (before). Photo credit Friends of Bats and Habitat GippslandRead more
An interesting predicament for anyone who knows the history of logging in East Gippsland. How could the council have unanimously endorsed a forestry position paper (p133) that both the Nationals and environment groups are both on board with? As it turns out, it's what lens you are using to look at it.
The Nationals are using the paper to push for prolonging the industry - albeit in low volume, high quality output form, while ignoring the environmental outcomes the paper stipulates which is that clearfell logging mush end first. Environmentalists are trying to make sure this and other crucial environmental outcomes are not forgotten in the rush by the Nationals not to seem like greenies.
Overall what the paper proposes is a radical departure from anything council has ever produced on logging. For East Gippsland this is huge. As well as including the end of clearfelling, it also includes the protection of biodiversity, protection of the unburnt, investment in nature based tourism and recreation, and a just transition for all affected communities.Read more
Immediately after the 2019 - 2020 Black Summer bushfires, the state government rolled over the disastrous Regional Forest Agreements (which commit and define the practice of native forest logging). As part of this roll over the RFAs were required to assess and implement measures to mitigate negative consequences associated with logging (combined with the Black Summer bushfires) on listed threatened species. This resulted in interim protections being applied in October 2020. In April 2022 these protections had the ability to go permanent. 5 months later, recommendations for increased and ongoing protections have finally been handed down.
While the recommendations are a mixed bag, we know that any increase in protections has been the result of hard fought campaigning by GECO supporters and other organisations. Left unchallenged, the industry would have pushed for a business as usual approach. So we need to claim this as a win, while also seeing their shortcomings.
With this in mind, send the environment minister an email and let her know you want all Greater Glider habitat protected now! They need more than just recommendations, they need proper permanent protection!
Image by Justine CallyRead more
In devastating, but unsurprising news, the iconic Southern Greater Glider was listed as endangered under federal environment laws last week. Native forest logging, climate change, and bushfires were all named as serious threats to the glider which led to the listing.
The Greater Glider was first listed only 6 years ago as vulnerable. In the Guardian coverage Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said; States would need to evaluate the new expert advice “to determine if changes to their forest management systems are required”. The listing will have little impact on logging regimes unless the Victorian state government acts to properly protect the species by removing logging coupes scheduled in the glider's key habitat.
Under the Andrews government the Greater Glider has gone from vulnerable, to endangered in just 6 years. Protecting all Greater Glider habitat from logging is essential to saving this iconic species before it's driven further to extinction.
Greater Glider captured by Matt Tomkins at GECO's Easter citizen science campRead more
On May 24th 2022 Mary-Anne Thomas - Victorian state ALP Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development and Ingrid Stitt - ALP Minister for Workplace Safety, introduced the Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 aimed at further criminalising forest protests at logging coupes. These laws follow suit with those introduced in Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania aimed at targeting climate and forest activists with heavy-handed penalties. In Victoria, they are a pre-election gambit aimed at wedging workers against environmentalists, and here's why.
While native forest logging is primarily the responsibility of state governments, there is still federal overlap and responsibility. We've produced this scorecard on what the positions are of major parties for forests.
GECO's campaign film 'Defend Errinundra' was showcased as part of the official selection of Sydney's Dare to Struggle Film Festival.
Read moreWatch the film 'Defend Errinundra'.
With the added attraction of senior botanist and East Gippsland specialist David Cameron, we had the biggest citizen science camp ever! Over 50 people attended for guided walks, talks & citizen science efforts and surveying. A new layer of people have been recharged and are ready to fight for the forests of East Gippsland!
Thanks so much to everyone who came and got involved. We hold citizen science and skillshare camps 3-4 a times a year - subscribe to our email list to get updates about the next camp!
Volunteers inside the giant 'Cathedral Tree' in the Errinundra. Photo credit: Trudy PhotographyRead more
At the beginning of 2020 we wrote to VicForests CEO Monique Dawson about the devastating ecological impacts of post bushfire logging. She admitted to rejecting the advice from leading expert in the field David Lindenmayer, instead relying on VicForests own determination and enforcement on what they felt had value. For over 2 years they have logged recovering forests without oversight, with impunity, and with the tacit support of the Dan Andrews government.
Since the 2019 - 2020 fires, this is what post-bushfire logging looks like in East Gippsland on Bidewell and Monero Country.
Shocking drone footage reveals the scale of logging devastation in Cann RiverRead more
Logging started this week in a patch of untouched forests in Swifts Creek on Gunnai Kurnai Country, despite the Andrews government promising to protect all old growth forests in November 2019. Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders have also been found in the area, the forests are an island in a sea of fire-impacted forests, and a critical refuge for threatened species.
A number of old growth forest areas have been logged since the government's supposed old growth logging ban.
Take action and call the Environment Minister's office now on 03 9637 9504 and tell her to stop the logging in 'No Rush' coupe in Mt Delusion
Logging in old growth forests on Gunnai Kurnai Country - photos by Friends of Bats and Habitat GippslandRead more
The Andrews government wants to make dangerous changes to logging laws; not to strengthen forest protections, but to provide legal protection for more destructive logging and increase fire threats to communities.
Take action and call on the Andrews government to ditch the dodgy changes and end logging for good!
Less than 6 months since the last changes to logging laws, the Andrews government is planning to axe additional rules designed to keep communities safe from bushfire risk. They are also proposing to weaken protections to threatened species, like the Tree Geebung, an endemic species from the Central Highlands.
The changes mean more areas of forests close to towns with bushfire risk will be up for logging, despite the known links between logging and the increased severity of bushfires.
These rushed changes have the only goal of derailing current community-run court cases so logging can continue unabated. They are a stark contrast to the lack of progress on, for instance, the Major Event Review of the 2019-20 Summer Bushfires, which is yet to finalise its assessment of the impact of the bushfires on our forests and wildlife more than two years later.
The state Labor government are also set to introduce new legislation in early March, that will take away the rights of community groups to take VicForests to court, and leave it up to the Environment Department to decide whether or not VicForests have complied with the law.
The Environment Department has a shocking record when it comes to regulating logging. Despite multiple breaches, from widespread illegal logging on steep slopes, to failing to regenerate forests after logging, the Department’s Conservation Regulator has never taken legal action to reign in VicForests. It'll be leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. Take action to call on the government to ditch the dodgy changes here.
Forests logged in Swifts Creek, Gunnai Kurnai Country, failing to regenerateRead more
We are excited to announce the new date for our exclusive film screening fundraiser of 'The Message of the Lyrebird'. The film is an award-winning feature length documentary filmed in Victoria about people and their relationship with this iconic forest mimic, that has been performing song and dance routines for millions of years.
All ticket sales raise money for our ongoing campaign to protect East Gippsland's precious forests. The screening will be held on Gunnai Kurnai Country at Lakes Entrance Sammy's Squash + Cinema, March 20 from 12:30pm-4. Grab your tickets here.
We had an awesome time at our citizen science camp over the weekend on unceded Bidewell and Monero Country. Was great to get out to the Errinundra Plateau and do some Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider surveys. There were plenty of walks to do during the day, through ancient rainforest to a giant cut-tail Ash on Sellar's Road, and to the Cathedral Tree, a giant 14-meter circumference Manna Gum.
Thanks so much to everyone who came out and got involved! We regularly hold citizen science events, sign up to our email list to get updates and come experience East Gippsland's incredible forests and wildlife, still threatened by logging.
Giant 14m circumference Manna gum in forests scheduled for loggingRead more