VicForests cuts habitat trees after citizen survey records Greater Gliders in logging coupe

Media Release – May 2nd 2016

Logging of old growth forest in East Gippsland has been halted after citizen surveys documented a large population of Greater Gliders in a VicForests logging coupe near Bendoc on Wednesday night.

Greater Gliders are Australia’s largest gliding marsupial, capable of gliding up to 100 meters. They need large old trees with hollows to sleep in during the day.

The law requires Greater Glider habitat to be protected from logging when more than 10 individuals are recorded on a 1km survey. GECO’s citizen science survey recorded 11 Greater Gliders in 850m.

The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) will conduct their own survey this week. Logging has been put on hold in the forest until the DELWP investigation concludes. 

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Citizen survey stops logging in Greater Glider forests again!

A citizen science survey has stopped logging on the Errinundra plateau again! Last night 11 Greater Gliders were found on a spotlighting survey in a forest being logged by VicForests. In East Gippsland Greater Gliders are protected by law when more than 10 individuals are found in a 1km long survey. GECO surveys identified 11 Greater Gliders in a 850m survey, triggering the legal requirement for the area to be placed into a Special Protection Zone (SPZ).

After burning the midnight oil with Australia's large gliding marsupials, we submitted our survey data first thing this morning, calling on the Department of Environment to stop the logging.

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Logging was occurring in protected species habitat, before the Department could investigate. This afternoon DELWP confirmed that VicForests has suspended operations! Another great result for protected species thanks to an epic survey effort. Citizen surveys keep finding protected species where VicForests refuse to look. 

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Minister stops burning of Kuark logging coupes in rainforest stronghold

Great news! Environment Minister Lisa Neville has cancelled the planned burn of logged areas in the iconic Larissa Lane in #‎KuarkForest!

Last week we raised concerns that the Department of Environment and VicForests' burns of a logged area at Larrissa Lane would endanger the rare rainforest and Slender-tree ferns in the gully directly adjacent to the planned burn.

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Action needed to halt burning of rainforest area in Kuark forest

Yesterday a crime against nature was committed at Hensleigh ck rd on the Errinundra Plateau. The Victorian government burnt an area of rainforest that was illegally logged last year.

One year ago VicForests bulldozed ancient rainforest trees like Sassafras and Black olive berry, likely to be 1000 years old. Despite several investigations, an independent review, condemnation from Minister Lisa Neville MP and a commitment to bolster the logging rules. Nothing changed! Yesterday the Vic government burnt the damaged rainforest, completing the destructive operation and finally killing the 1000 year old trees they illegally bulldozed last year. A crime against nature.

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It's the height of the logging burns season and VicForests and the Department of Environment are planning on burning the Larissa Lane rainforest area in the iconic Kuark forest.

We have to stop it!

Rainforest and rare and protected plants are at risk if the burn goes ahead.

You can take action by emailing Environment Minister Lisa Neville using the form below.

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New unlawful logging in Rainforest Site of Significance

GECO and Fauna and Flora Research Collective has exposed another two unlawful rainforest logging breaces this week. These breaches are the fourth and fifth cases of VicForests' unlawful logging in rainforest areas in just three months. The area is situated in the Serpentine Rainforest Site of Significance, a well known stronghold for warm temperate rainforest and rare species.

A report has been submitted to the state government concerning inadequate vegetative buffers on stands of rainforest coinciding with a linear reserve. The rainforest in this area requires a 100m buffer under the law. Logging here is active and needs to be stopped so the law can be followed.

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40 rare tree-ferns found as VicForests investigated for rainforest logging

A VicForests coupe is under investigation by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) for logging of protected rainforest in East Gippsland's Cabbage Tree Creek Area. GECO surveys identified logged rainforest buffers, 40 rare Slender and Skirted Tree-ferns and 75 rainforest associated species. DELWP are scheduled to visit the coupe this week.

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Rare Slender and Skirted Tree-ferns

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VicForests caught logging protected rainforest again

VicForests has been caught out logging protected rainforest again. Logging commenced last week in high conservation value wet forest on the border of the Kuark and Murrungower forest blocks. This area is a stronghold for warm temperate rainforest, which is protected by law. An inspection of this coupe has revealed unlawful logging of rainforest buffer zones. We've collected evidence of the rainforest logging breaches and reported it to the Department of Environment, who are supposed to make sure rainforest is protected from VicForests logging operations. Once again the Victorian government has failed to protect rainforest from VicForests and allowed unlawful logging to occur.

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Citizen scientists converge in Kuark forest

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.

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VicForests faces fresh court challenge over endangered species

Environment East Gippsland (EEG) is suing VicForests in the SupremeYBG_1_a_small.jpg 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.

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100 hectares of forest saved for Greater Gliders

GG_2_CR_Press_copy_crop_smallest.jpg 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.

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Vic gov allows logging in forest subject to environmental investigation

Last wWebbed_Feet_RF.jpgeek 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.

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VicForests forced to stop logging contentious coupe in Kuark forest

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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!

To make a tax deductible donation to our citizen science survey program check here 

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Greater Glider survey stops logging on Errinundra plateau.

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.

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Kuark forest blockade re-established, logging of endangered species habitat halted again.

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.

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Protest halts logging in Kuark Forest endangered species habitat

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.

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Images: Protesters in the forest this morning. 

 

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