Sixty people converged in the Kuark Forest over the weekend to learn and practice survey techniques for protected forest species. GECO forest campaigners presented educational presentations and workshops on species ecology, the East Gippsland forest campaign, survey report writing and rainforest biogeography. Valuable data was collected on the presence of rare, threatened and protected species in VicForests logging coupes. We also completed two forest carbon accounting plots adding to our forest carbon assessment data.
Environment East Gippsland (EEG) is suing VicForests in the Supreme Court again!
Central to the legal case are inadequate protections and pre logging surveys for protected species such as the critically endangered East Gippsland Galaxias fish, the endangered Long footed potoroo, Yellow bellied gliders and rare and protected plants in an area of the Kuark Forest. VicForests refused to stop logging in the area subject the the Court action, so EEG took out an emergency injunction to halt logging of the protected species habitat. GECO has collected survey data on the protected species in this area that may be used as evidence in the case. The Age newspaper ran a story last week about the case. Click read more to view the story.Read more
Great news! The greater glider survey we conducted recently has been verified by ecologists commissioned by the Department of Environment. 100 hectares will be protected from logging! The verification team found the same number of gliders as we did, 15 in total.
It's good to see the government respond and act in this case. But why was this logging area not surveyed to start with and why did it take a small group of volunteers to conduct an 11th hour survey to stop logging at the last minute? Hopefully this will encourage Lisa Neville MP's Department to conduct independent pre-logging surveys to ensure protected species are identified prior to logging. There was some great coverage about this successful result on the ABC's AM program. A journalist from the program came out with us on a survey looking for the Greater Gliders smaller cousin, the Yellow Bellied Glider.Read more
Last week we submitted reports to the Department of Environment detailing the presence of protected rainforest, a rare and protected plant and a large population of protected Yellow Belly Gliders in areas scheduled for logging in Kuark forest.
The Department confirmed they will investigate our reports, but they have allowed logging to commence before they investigate!
We reported this before logging started. Instead of issuing a direction to VicForests to not log until the investigation had taken place, the Department has allowed logging to start before they investigate.Read more
Another great result for East Gippsland's forests today! Legal action by Environment East Gippsland combined with our threatened species surveys has forced VicForests to halt logging in an area of #KuarkForest and survey for threatened species!
Watch this short film telling the story of the blockade in this forest subject to legal action and our surveys that recorded endangered species. A lot of the forest has been lost, but VicForests have been forced to not log significant sections of the coupe and protect habitat of the critically endangered East Gippsland Galaxias fish, which is found nowhere else on earth.
They've also agreed to conduct surveys for other rare wildlife and threatened plants such as the Slender tree fern. A lot of habitat was destroyed while the legal negotiations took place, however without GECO taking direct action and slowing the operation down, a lot more would have been lost.
It's a good result and another example of the formidable team work of GECO, EEG and Environmental Justice Australia. Go Team!
In the early morning hours of January 25th, three citizen scientist surveyors conducted a survey for Greater Gliders in old growth forest on the Errinundra Plateau. Logging machinery had just moved in and logging was about to commence. We knew this area was high quality habitat for Greater Gliders and we conducted a survey to determine if the species was present in high enough densities to trigger legal protection. We found 15 Greater Gliders in about 800m, this is a huge population that should trigger legal protection and result in the creation of a 100 hectare protected area. If greater than 10 Greater Gliders are found within a 1km survey transect, a 100 hectare protected area must be created. We finished the survey at 3am, complied the data, wrote the report, mapped the results and submitted it the state government by 8:59am. By 10am VicForests were forced to stop logging! Click here to read the report.
20 conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have re-established a forest blockade in the Kuark forest to the north east of Orbost in East Gippsland.
Last week logging was stopped for four days by a person in a tree platform tied to logging machinery. This morning a person is positioned 8m above the ground on a timber tripod, blocking access to the contentious logging coupe. Another person is positioned up a large timber pole attached to logging machines, which is preventing logging from continuing.
Conservationists have halted logging in the Kuark forest in far East Gippsland this morning. A person is positioned on a tree platform 30m above the ground. Ropes from the platform are attached to machinery, preventing logging from continuing.
The contentious logging coupe contains high quality habitat for threatened species. State owned logging company VicForests has not conducted a pre-logging threatened species survey, as required by law.
Citizen science surveys conducted by GECO have recorded two listed endangered species in the area. An endangered Long-footed potoroo was recorded on a remote fauna camera two weeks ago and last week a population of critically endangered East Gippsland Galaxias fish were photographed in streams bordering the logging coupe.
Images: Protesters in the forest this morning.
Logging has recommenced in the highly contentious old growth forest of Hensleigh creek rd, near Errinundra National Park. Logging was halted in April after we exposed illegal rainforest logging. The Victorian government conducted two investigations and an independent review which found 'inconclusive' evidence because the rainforest had already been destroyed. Environment Minister Lisa Neville committed her Department to improve logging rules in light of this controversial operation, but in a massive backwards step she has allowed VicForests back into the area. We took direct action to stop the logging yesterday. Police broke up the blockade last night and logging is expected to start again today. Logging is occurring without a legally required pre logging survey for protected wildlife. We've documented Greater Gliders in high densities in the area, however the government are refusing to protect their habitat and force VicForests to conduct a legally required survey. Click read more to take action and read our media release.
Our first citizen science survey camp of the year has been a huge success! 60 people came from all over the country to take part in forest surveys in areas earmarked for logging. We collected valuable data on rainforest, old growth forest, giant trees, forest carbon, Long-footed potoroo presence and high densities of Greater gliders. We’ll be collating the data over the coming weeks and formalising it into reports to be submitted to the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning. The data will help ensure that VicForests logging operations do not illegally impact upon areas of rainforest and threatened species habitat.
Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) has submitted a report to the State government detailing illegal logging of rainforest in East Gippsland. Logging of rainforest buffer zones has occurred unlawfully in a controversial coupe that VicForests stopped working in after protests from GECO and legal action from Environment East Gippsland last week.
The Department of Environment has told GECO an investigation has begun. It is the fourth investigation into VicForests’ illegal rainforest logging this year.
Fantastic news! After just one day of direct action by GECO and a letter from lawyers representing Environment East Gippsland, VicForests agreed to stop their illegal logging operation and the logging machinery has left the forest! It was an amazing result and successfully prevented the destruction of high conservation value forest home to threatened species. Most of the forest remains intact and safe from VicForests lawless logging regime.
Unfortunately 8 brave people who took direct action to stop the logging were fined $500 each. We've started a fundraising campaign to support them to pay their fines quickly so they can get on with doing more great work defending our environment. Go here to support them.
The forest was illegally logged because VicForests had failed to conduct surveys for threatened species prior to logging. VicForests are legally obligated to survey for threatened species to ensure measures can be put in place to habitat. VicForests choose not to survey for threatened species in some areas, because they know that if they find them, the area they can log will be reduced in size due to protective measures that the law requires to be implemented to protect habitat.
GECO took direct action on Tuesday morning to halt the logging and the logging operation had ended by Tuesday night. The machines were rolling out of the coupe today!
Image: Bulldozer getting trucked out of VicForets illegal logging coupeRead more
Conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have halted logging operations in high conservation value forest on the St Patrick’s River in East Gippsland today due to multiple breaches of the law.
A person is positioned in a tree platform 30m off the ground. The platform is tied off to logging machinery which is preventing logging operations from continuing.
GECO believes the logging is illegal. VicForests has failed to carry out necessary pre logging surveys for threatened wildlife, which it is legally obligated to do. Logging has also illegally impacted upon a large stand of protected rainforest.
As world leaders meet in Paris to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change, GECO has embarked on an ambitious project to measure the carbon stocks in old growth forests of East Gippsland.
The tall wet Eucalyptus forests of south east Australia are the most carbon rich forests on earth. Logging and burning of native forests is destroying some of the world's greatest carbon stores, releasing massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. This project is really exciting because there's a large body of forest carbon science from the Central Highlands of Victoria and Tasmania, however the mixed species wet Eucalyptus forests of East Gippsland have never been sampled. We're looking forward to finding out more about the role East Gippsland's forests play in fighting climate change.
Recent surveying in the Cottonwood range forests has revealed vast areas of failed regeneration after logging. VicForests recently added 9 new logging areas (coupes) to their plans in the Cottonwood range, more than 20 coupes are on the logging plans in the Cottonwood.
Logging operations in this high altitude environment are failing to regenerate, this coupe was logged in 2004. Once a tall wet forest with a diversity of plant and animal species, it's now a paddock of grasses and dead bracken.
This is land clearing, not "sustainable" logging. Logging operations are currently occurring within 700m of this area of failed regeneration. There are 20 planned coupes all with in a 2km radius of the area. Will the forests being logged now and in the future on the Cottonwood range also fail to regenerate? It's very likely.
High altitude areas often fail to regenerate due to colder temperatures and frosts. Our photo was posted by our friends Environment East Gippsland on their facebook page and the ABC ran a story about this environmental disaster. Click read more to see the story.