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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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