The 2019/2020 bushfires have decimated over two thirds of East Gippsland's forests. A new report showing analysis of maps and data from the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires has revealed the significant areas of unburnt forests critical for bushfire affected wildlife are set to be logged by the Victorian Government.
The Victorian state-owned logging company VicForests are planning to log over 20,000ha of forest across ten key refuge areas identified in the report. These areas, and others not focussed on in the report are critical for wildlife to recover and repopulate the vast areas where millions of animals were killed by the fires. The report also finds that out of the 112,000 ha of state forest in East Gippsland outside the fire extent, 90,000 ha remains unprotected. Click here to read the full report.
Logging scheduled in Errinundra, a key refuge for bushfire affected threatened species
The 2019-20 bushfires burnt more than 1.25 million hectares of forest across eastern Victoria, pushing many ecosystems to the brink of collapse and threatening the survival of hundreds of plant and animal species. But there have not only been no reductions or substantive changes to existing logging plans since the bushfires, two additional logging schedules have been approved by state-owned VicForests in the last 12 months.
The analysis adds to the chorus of leading scientists who have identified that key unburnt refuge areas should be the immediate and ongoing focus for conservation. The state government’s own risk assessment of threatened species and habitats carried out in October 2020 and released over the holiday break acknowledges the toll logging has on threatened wildlife. However the government has not yet moved to provide any new protections for rare animals like the Greater Glider or Sooty Owl. For most of the bushfire-affected threatened species focused on in the report, logging is listed as a major threat to their already precarious survival.
The Victorian government are threatening to log hundred of coupes across East Gippsland.
Want to join us on the ground in the forests? Send us an email at [email protected] if you're keen to volunteer, or learn more about the vigil camp in Errinundra which has been disrupting logging for over 3 months!