GECO joined Fauna and Flora Research collective and Environment East Gippsland yesterday to meet with the Department of Envrionment Land Water and Planning (DELWP). The meeting was to discuss acceptable protections for rainforest, cool temperate mixed forest and large old trees. The consultation resulted from public concern over an illegal rainforest logging operation on the Errinundra plateau that GECO documented in April this year. Controversy surrounding the rainforest logging operation prompted the government to review the logging rules. Instead of actually doing their job and prosecuting VicForests for the illegal logging, the DELWP have instead decided to change to rules!
It took three years to get a response, but last week we received notification from the Victorian government that a 'protection' zone will be declared in an area of forest where we filmed an Endangered long-footed potoroo. It sounds good right? But the problem is logging can and does occur within Long-footed potoroo protection zones. The exact site where we filmed this endangered species can be logged and is scheduled to be destroyed this year. Several sites where we've filmed endangered potoroos in the past have already been logged. Read more to take a really simple action to protect the Potoroo.
Twenty five students from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) converged on Goongerah this week to take part in a citizen science survey camp. Students from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra attended to learn about the ecology of the forests of East Gippsland and the survey techniques used in GECOs citizen science program.
Environment Minister Lisa Neville MP has told ABC radio that the forest where GECO recently photographed the endangered Large brown tree frog will not be logged! The frog was thought to have gone extinct until April this year when it was rediscovered by a GECO volunteer. Earlier this month it was photographed by GECO in an area scheduled for logging. GECO submitted a report to the government asking them to create a special protection zone around the site and rule out planned logging of the forest.
ABC reported on the frog discovery this morning on ABC Gippsland. The story also ran on Radio National and 774 Melbourne. The Minister said it was a really significant discovery, logging will not go ahead and a protection zone will be put in place to protect the frog.Read more
The endangered Large Brown Tree-frog (Litoria littlejohnii) has been detected in an area earmarked for logging. The frog was through to be extinct until April this year when GECO volunteer Rena Garborov rediscovered it in Mt. Jersey forests near Goongerah. GECO has submitted the record of this frog to the Department of Environment and are hopeful Environment Minister Lisa Neville MP will protect the area and prevent VicForests from pushing head with planned logging operations. Since the frogs rediscovery in April, VicForests has added 127 new logging coupes to their plans in East Gippsland, 9 of which surround the locations where the frog was rediscovered.
The State government has issued fines to three citizen science surveyors who reported illegal rainforest logging. Despite the State government committing to implementing a raft of changes to logging rules in light of the information we provided, fines have been issued for entering logging "safety zone". We'll be fighting the fines in court and will not be silenced for speaking out about VicForests unlawful logging operations.
The so called 'safety zones' are designed to keep the public out of the forests and shield VicForests logging operations from scrutiny. We'll continue to monitor and document logging operations. It's in the public interest for the public to know what is happening in their forests.
Victorian Government Thanks Conservationists For Exposing "Disturbing" Logging Practices By Fining Them
The Victorian government has fined a conservationist who exposed what the Environment Minister described as “very disturbing” and “extremely poor practice” logging, despite reports he helped prepare becoming a catalyst for substantial reform of industry guidelines.
Originally published by New Matilda: https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/10/victorian-government-thanks-conservationists-exposing-disturbing-logging-practices-fining/
The state government is seeking to change the legal definition of "Cool Temperate Mixed Forest" after a GECO report provided evidence of illegal logging in this rare and threatened forest type. We fear that changing the definition will most likely water down protections to facilitate logging. The Department of Environment will also review protections for large old trees in light of recent GECO survey work, this is the same survey work the government are threatening to prosecute us for undertaking. We are hopeful old growth trees can be given appropriate protection through this process.
again earn credits for generating clean energy, but there's dispute about whether burning native forest waste for energy is 'carbon neutral'. Background Briefing reports.
Originally published on the ABC website
The winter Citizen Science camp was a massive success. Despite 100mm of rain the week before, freezing temperatures and snow on the hills above us, 60 people braved the cold to come out. Lots of enthusiastic people from all across Australia made the journey to Goongerah. We had a blast meeting everyone and showing off East gippy. Participants took part in rainforest surveys, nocturnal spotlighting, ecology workshops and remote camera deployment. Good times!Read more
Our citizen science program has made a really exciting discovery! Earlier this year we conducted an intensive rainforest survey of an area of rainforest in Kuark and identified a species that has never been recorded in East Gippsland. We sent the fern to the Melbourne Herbarium and they confirmed it as Bristly Shield Fern (Lastriopsis hispida). The closest known occurrence of this species is 250kms to the west of Kuark forest. It' s a highly significant discovery and a huge geographical range extension for the species. It shows that we don't know what species we could be losing when VicForests log these areas without doing adequate pre-logging surveys for special values and threatened species.
ABC's AM program came out to the Kuark forest with us and reported on this unique discovery. Click read more to see the media stories.
We've submitted a detailed report to the government on the rainforest survey we conducted and the presence of this rare fern in the proposed logging area. We're calling on them to cancel planned logging operations in the Kuark forest and protect Kuark's biodiversity and rainforests.Read more
Environment East Gippsland's (EEG) Court case concerning protection of Owl habitat reached an out of Court settlement late last week. This has resulted in 2000 hectares of forest being set aside in Owl habitat reserves. Some areas to be set aside are forests where GECO recorded Owls during surveys to collect evidence for the Court case.
While many areas of critical habitat for the Masked, Sooty and Powerful Owl remain open to logging, it's a significant victory that's taken 9 proposed logging areas off the logging schedule and placed a four year moratorium on 16 proposed logging areas. The government has also committed to increasing the size of all protected areas for owls that are below legal minimums in East Gippsland, carrying out expert research to help inform whether further protection is needed for owls and paying part of EEG's considerable costs to bring this case to court.
This Endangered Masked Owl was recorded during a GECO survey at Pikes Hill in the Kuark forest. This forest will be placed into a 500 hectare reserve to protect the Owl's habitat. Without EEG's legal action and our survey work this forest may have already been logged.
Last month VicForests proposed to add about 300 areas (coupes) to their logging schedule or Timber Release Plan (TRP). 172 in the Central Highlands and 127 in East Gippsland. The additional Central Highlands coupes are in some of the last remaining habitat for the critically endangered Lead Beaters Possum and within the proposed Great Forest National Park.
You can take action by visiting the TRP TimeOut website. The site is a great resource to help you write letters to Victorian Ministers requesting the new logging areas not be approved. Use the letter provided and add you own comments about East Gippsland's forests. You can share it on twitter and facebook using the hashtag #TRPTimeOut.
Confidential documents reveal the VicForests has been exporting whole logs to China for rock bottom prices. In the absence of a viable market for so called 'residual' timber, after the collapse of the export woodchip market, VicForests are stopping to new lows here by exporting unprocessed timber and exporting jobs. Our forests are worth so much more standing than they are as unprocessed logs heading to China for rock bottom prices.
The Andrew's government appears to have relaxed restrictions on the the export of unprocessed materiel. It's a move that has angered environmentalists and the Unions. Looks like the rogue agency VicForests has the government wrapped around their finger.
The story broke in The Age newspaper this morning. GECO's Ed Hill spoke with the ABC, explaining that in the language of VicForests, 'residue' actually means whole trees from high conservation value forests. Click read more for media.
In less than a week the federal Senate will decide whether to include native forest biomass burning in the Renewable Energy Target!
Please call, tweet and email the Senate cross benchers now!
We urgently need your help! In less than a week the Senate will consider legislation that proposes to include burning native forests for electricity (biomass) in the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The Federal government and the logging industry want the RET to include native forest biomass power as an eligible source of renewable energy. This would mean native forest biomass would qualify for Renewable Energy Certificates (REC'S) and compete directly with true sources of renewable energy like solar and wind.Read more