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Unburnt forests in Swifts Creek targeted for logging

The Victorian government is targeting forests in Swifts Creek on Gunai Kurnai Country for logging despite being an important refuge area for wildlife after the bushfires.

Conservation groups and East Gippsland locals have recently visited the area and are shocked at the scale of destruction in forests which have never been logged. Two areas have already been clear-felled, and the whole hillside is up for logging. Despite being critical habitat for Greater Gliders, Sooty Owls, and Yellow-bellied Gliders, the state government commenced logging two months ago. Take action and call for the protection of these and other refuges for wildlife! 

Giant habitat tree, logged in Swifts Creek

Photo credit: Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland

The area is a key refuge for wildlife after the bushfires identified by GECO and other conservation groups earlier this year. These and other important forests are still being targeted for logging, despite a federal review into the fires and how they affect the controversial agreements between the state and federal government which give logging an exemption from environment laws. 

The government acknowledged last year that logging would have serious impacts on wildlife and forests following the fires, but additional areas were earmarked for logging last year. Swifts Creek has been heavily impacted by logging and past bushfires. But the area now up for logging is largely untouched and luckily wasn't impacted by the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires. 

Photo credit: Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland

A number of Greater Gliders were found in the area, but the state government's laws don't protect them and still allow logging where they're found. Protections for the species are set to weaken in East Gippsland. The government is basing the prescriptions on experiments conducted by their logging agency which were compared to scientific whaling.

'Habitat' trees and patches are left isolated in massive cleared areas. They often fall over due to wind damage, or die from post-logging coupe burns. 

Photo credit: Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland

Statement from GECO spokesperson Chris Schuringa:

"The scale of the destruction here is heart-breaking. These forests have never been logged before. It's pretty rare to see these untouched forests, especially now after the bushfires. How the state government can still be doing this... it's unthinkable."

"If people knew... if they came and saw it with their own eyes, they'd be outraged. The government shouldn't be logging these forests. This is the unceded land of the Gunai Kurnai First Nations peoples. This is not the legacy we should be leaving."

Sooty Owl found in Swifts Creek, Mt Delusion (Credit: Fauna and Flora Research Collective)

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