Logging has been halted in an important area of forest home to critically endangered Masked Owl, and Yellow-bellied Gliders where GECO says logging was unlawful. Conservation groups sounded the alarm over illegal logging in the Colquhoun State Forest on Gunnai Kurnai Country in December last year when citizen scientists found a high density of Yellow-bellied Gliders.
GECO received a letter from the logging regulator stating the report and detections had triggered a protection zone. But they didn't protect forests up for logging, and refused to prosecute VicForests for illegally logging forests that should've been saved. There's a cluster of four coupes in the area, it's some of the last remaining old growth forest and unburnt refugia for threatened species in the Colquhoun.
Bulldozers were about to move into the adjacent forest, but thankfully Environment East Gippsland and their legal team secured an urgent injunction to stop the imminent logging of the forests. You can support their tireless work to defend East Gippsland's forests in court by donating here.
Unburnt forest refuge in the Colquhoun where logging was halted by a court injunctionRead more
The state and federal governments have finally agreed to conduct a Major Event Review into the impacts of the 2019/2020 bushfires, but a confidential document obtained by GECO through Freedom of Information reveals the Environment Department has already told state-owned VicForests to postpone all logging in East Gippsland. The hushed up recommendation was given more than 6 months ago, but logging has continued in East Gippsland in and outside the fire extent.
In the document the Department identifies specific areas where they've said VicForests shouldn't be logging which fall in the top 20% of habitat remaining for priority species impacted by the fires, some of which have already been logged in the last few months. We worked with The Guardian to break the story, read and share the coverage here.
Logging in key unburnt forests in the Colquhoun state forest on the doorstep of Lakes Entrance, East GippslandRead more
Minister Jaclyn Symes, who's responsible for VicForests, is pushing to change laws to remove the democratic right for community groups to take legal action against VicForests. Despite the horrific black Summer bushfires, and the Federal Court ruling VicForests broke the law, she's backing VicForests' new plans to log thousands of hectares of forests across Victoria, against her own government's scientific advice!
You can take action and email Minister Symes, we expect stronger laws for wildlife and an urgent transition out of native forest logging.
Government owned logging agency VicForests have finally released the results of their 2019 Forest Stewardship Council audit, revealing they've failed to achieve FSC certification. This is the fifth try to get the green tick, the audit report reveals major non-conformances for failure to protect threatened species habitat and high conservation values, continued logging of old growth forest, as well as poor stakeholder engagement.
Remarkably, a few months ago when VicForests announced they were abandoning their efforts to get the green tick, they made a desperate attempt to shift the blame for failing to meet the standards, pointing the finger to the FSC board itself, who have nothing to do with the audit process or the outcome. They also blamed the bushfires and COVID, events which happened after the audit in 2019.
Failed regen, Mt Delusion, Swifts Creek
A leaked Bunnings staff newsletter has revealed Bunnings will phase out VicForests products from their supply chain following a federal court judgement which found they had illegally logged over 25 areas of native forest, and that their future logging plans fail to comply with state and federal laws. Bunnings have now released a statement which you can read here.
The judgement throws doubt over the legality of all logging in threatened species habitat, the state-owned logging company are still logging forests in the Central Highlands which contain threatened species like the Greater Glider despite the court ruling, and the government is yet to take any action to ensure that its current logging operations comply with state and federal laws.
Copy of the leaked Bunnings staff newsletterRead more
Roadside clearing operations on the Princes Highway are complete, and now along hundreds of kilometres of tracks through burnt and unburnt forests, roadside logging is well underway. VicForests cowboys have been contracted by the Environment Department for hazardous tree removal, and they've been given the green light to ‘salvage’ those trees from the road-clearing effort. But over-zealous roadside clearing and tree removal is happening, and according to reports only a small portion of trees being taken are actually hazardous. It’s very unclear as to what environmental regulations and assessments are being done to ensure that only dangerous trees are being removed. The Age has reported on the issue and the Office of the Conservation Regulator is now investigating.
“We are extremely disturbed at the amount of questionable clear felling of large habitat trees occurring along thousands of kilometres of East Gippsland’s roads... We fear that demands from industry for salvage logging of burnt public forests is already happening under the guise of road clearing operations.”
Over-zealous and unregulated logging of Bloodwood trees in Cape ConranRead more
Geco citizen scientists have discovered the rare Satanwood (Nematolepis squamea subsp. Squamea) plant within a rainforest site of significance about to be logged by Vicforests in East Gippsland
As we write, Less than 2000 individual Satinwood plants are known to exist in Victoria. With this population the only known occurrence outside of reserves, much of which is about to be logged by Vicforests.
Geco have written a report on the discovery and told the government that this rare plant must be saved.
An important hot spot for the threatened Greater Glider is being logged. Logging by VicForests in the 'Shazam' coupe in the Cottonwood range on the Errinundra plateau near the town of Bendoc in East Gippsland begun over two weeks ago. The forest supports many large old trees with hollows that form important habitat for a population of Greater Gliders. The forest was featured in our recently released research report 'Gliding towards extinction' report as a example of documented Greater Glider habitat that is threatened by logging.
Protected rainforest and rainforest buffers have been illegally logged by VicForests near Tonghi Creek in far East Gippsland. Logging by VicForests in coupe 868-506-0009 "Granton Road" has impacted on rainforest in numerous locations a several hectares of forest that should have been protected in a rainforest buffer has been logged.
We have reported the breach to the regulator Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and written to the Office of Conservation Regulation.