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.
The critically endangered East Gippsland Galaxias fish is only found in the Kuark forest and was only described as a species in late 2014. Logging impacts the species by increasing sediment run off, reducing water yields and disrupting stream flow. Both species are highly restricted in their distribution and only occur in far East Gippsland.
“VicForests claim a survey for threatened species is not needed in this forest, because apparently they do not exist here. We’ve managed to find two endangered species in just a couple of weeks. This proves the forest is high quality habitat that should have been subject to a pre logging survey to identify endangered species habitat.” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill
Images: Endangered Long-footed Potoroo (L), critically endangered East Gippsland Galaxias fish photographed in coupe (R)
“Last week we submitted reports to the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) documenting the presence of endangered species. VicForests should be stood down and the forest must be protected as endangered species habitat,” said Ed Hill
“It should not be left up to community groups like us to do the work of the DELWP by identifying and monitoring endangered species habitat. The management actions for these species are inadequate and allow extensive logging in important habitat, “ said Ed Hill
“The Victorian government prioritise protection of VicForests’ logging interests over protection of endangered species, said Ed Hill
“Kuark forest is a stronghold for these two species, extensive logging currently occurring throughout the Kuark forests are placing their future in danger. Kuark forest needs urgent protection to protect its biodiversity and create an important connective corridor between the Errinundra Plateau and the coast,” said Ed Hill
“Protests and threatened specie surveys will continue until Kuark forest is receives the protection it deserves as stronghold for biodiversity, rainforest and threatened species.”
Media contact: Ed Hill – 0414 199 645
Image: Forest scheduled for logging in the contentious coupe.
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