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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Central Highlands

What does the VIC government’s promise to protect Old Growth mean for the High Country?

Public conversation about the recent announcement of an end to logging of old growth forests in Victoria has so far focused on the implications for East Gippsland, where large areas of ‘Modeled Old Growth (MOG)’ is expected to be protected, and the Central Highlands, where there will be very little protection. Given this announcement covers forests right across the east of the state, what does it mean for the High Country?

The short answer, at this stage, is ‘we don’t really know’. While the government map that has been circulated shows considerable areas of MOG throughout the foothills and valleys of the High Country, and even what looks like older Snow Gum Woodlands, we are yet to get the details on what the protection of these areas will look like.

Continue reading “What does the VIC government’s promise to protect Old Growth mean for the High Country?”

Victorian government protects Old Growth forests

In a major announcement, the Andrews government has stated that it will ‘immediately’ protect all remaining old growth forest on the east of the state as part of a plan to phase out native forest logging and protect 96,000 hectares of forests. The old growth areas amounts to 90,000 hectares of mountain and foothill forests.

Environmental groups such as Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and Friends of the Earth (FoE) have welcomed the announcement and also called for the release of extra detail and maps to ensure the announcement results in lasting and effective protection.

This outcome is especially good news for the heartland of remaining old growth – the hill country of East Gippsland.

Continue reading “Victorian government protects Old Growth forests”

Climate change threatens Melbourne’s water and mountain ash forests

The Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne are home to incredible stands of Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans). They are valuable in their own right and also offer space, quiet, recreation, and are a home to a wealth of animal species. The catchments of the Central Highlands also provide much of Melbourne’s drinking water.

According to new research, Melbourne faces a rising threat to it’s water supplies from climate change as higher temperatures diminish inflows while pushing up demand.

A paper published by Environment Research Letters shows a “substantially” amplified risk for Melbourne’s water availability if global temperatures rise 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels rather than the 1.5-degree target set by the Paris climate agreement.

Continue reading “Climate change threatens Melbourne’s water and mountain ash forests”

Logging stopped near Icy Creek

Forest Conservation Victoria reports that:

“Logging has been halted today in an area of forest at Icy Creek, along the main scenic tourist road out to Mt Baw Baw. A person is suspended 25 metres above the ground up a tree on a platform tied to logging machinery. Their actions are preventing the destruction of Ballantynes Saddle, which still remains after major decimation on the adjacent ridge.”

Ballantynes Saddle lies on the road to Mt Baw Baw between Icy Creek and the township of Tanjil Bren.

Continue reading “Logging stopped near Icy Creek”

Castella forest about to be logged

Logging appears to be imminent in this very important forest in Castella near Toolangi, to the east of Melbourne.

The Castella coupes are a stronghold for a diversity of species including the threatened greater glider and critically endangered barred galaxias – a small native fish.

A blockade has been established to protect these forests.

Please call the environment minister and urge her to intervene to protect this forest.

Call and ask to leave a message: 03 9637 9504.

You can find further information here.

Logging planned near Cambarville

Before the 2009 Black Saturday fires, the forests around Cambarville, to the east of Marysville in the Central Highlands of Victoria, were a paradise. The area was dominated by ancient mountain ash forest, with trees up to 85 metres in height, and Nothfagus dominated rainforest that was as fine as anything you could ever see in Tasmania. The Leadbeater’s Possum was rediscovered in the area in 1961.

This was once a location of a logging village and sits as an important ecological link between the Lake Mountain Plateau and protected water catchments to the south. While the 2009 fires didn’t burn the entire area, it has been greatly changed by those fires, with the loss of significant areas of rainforest and old growth ash.

Now, there are plans to allow logging close to the Cambarville area. This will further fragment this highly significant forest.

Continue reading “Logging planned near Cambarville”

Leadbeater’s Possum habitat being logged in the Blue Range

Critically important habitat for Victoria’s faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum is being logged right now in the Blue Range to the east of the Cathedral Ranges in the Central Highlands.

Despite being notified of the critical habitat that is likely being logged in breach of the law, the environment department are making excuses as to why logging should continue and are refusing to investigate.

Please call on the Victorian environment minister to protect threatened species habitat and cease logging in forest along Tom Burns Creek in the Rubicon Region.

Take action

You can email the environment minister here – to tell her we want critical Leadbeater’s Possum habitat protected, not logged. And we want to be able to trust that the environment department is making every effort to protect species and not making excuses about why they will not carry out their obligations.

For background information on the logging please check here.

IMAGE: from WOTCH

 

Logging stops in Quoll habitat

Great news! Logging machines have left Mount Baw Baw near where the endangered Spot-tailed Quoll was found. Congratulations to Minister Lily D’Ambrosio MP for taking action. Send the Minister an email in your own words thanking her for acting and encouraging her to ensure the protections stop further logging that is planned nearby.

You can write your own email here >>> https://www.melbournefoe.org.au/email_minister_d_ambrosio

Noojee forest granted short term protection.

Residents in Noojee, in Gippsland, have been running a campaign to stop logging adjacent to their township. This is emblematic of a growing resistance in the logging country across eastern Victoria, were normally conservative towns are rising up against the impacts of broad acre logging. Tin the case of Noojee, some residents claim that a population of the threatened greater glider will be impacted by the logging.

Now, the ABC reports that the Federal Court has granted an injunction to stop any logging by VicForests in the area until February when a three-week trial is due to start. This temporary reprieve has been welcomed by the Friends of Noojee Trees. Spokeswoman Gaye Trevan said “It gives us some breathing space until the trial but the battle goes on to try to protect the forest next to the town”.

The Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum group is challenging VicForests’ compliance with the regional forest agreement (RFA) for the Central Highlands.

IMAGE: Justin Cally. https://twitter.com/Jcal1

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