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East Gippsland

Fire Haiku

These haiku were written in the days weeks and months following the fires that devastated much of eastern Australia.

They are my personal response to the loss and the ensuing grief. A loss and grief that still exist a year later, a loss and grief l am not alone in experiencing.

Indeed these feelings seem to have permeated the psyche of those of us, not only living in the bush, but those of us that value the rivers, the birds, trees…

It’s not the loss of material, it’s the loss of something so much bigger.

It’s the tearing, and fraying of the connection to the land, to place.

It’s the changed ecosystem.

The green of the epicormia, what does it signal?

Recovery? Defined as a return to a normal state. I think not.

Hope? Perhaps.

Change..? Definitely.

 

Continue reading “Fire Haiku”

A new year. The old threats continue.

Well, we’re on the other side of New Year. Phew. I hope that you’re enjoying some good mountain time over summer and getting a recharge. There’s lots to do this year.

There are a range of environmental issues that have been bubbling away over the last year, and each of them have campaigns which could use some extra support if you have the time or resources. Here’s a sample of what’s going on. 

Continue reading “A new year. The old threats continue.”

One year on from the DEC 31 fires

In late November 2019, fires started in East Gippsland as a result of lightning strikes. As noted by Peter Gardner, many of these went on to become major blazes. November 21 was a Code Red Day, causing fires across the state. On December 30, fires tore through the township of Goongerah in East Gippsland. By 30 December 2019, the fires started in November had grown into three active fires in East Gippsland with a combined area of more than 130,000 hectares, and another in the north-east of the state near Walwa, which was heading south-east towards Cudgewa.

And on new year’s eve, lightning storms passed across the state and started another set of fires across the Victorian mountains, and fire season came to the Alps with a vengeance.

Continue reading “One year on from the DEC 31 fires”

2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.

Wow. What a year. Crazy summer fires. Covid lockdowns. Terrible winter snow pack, but also some incredible snow storms. Lots of fighting over our mountains, including the endless culture war argument about horses. Kind of glad it’s almost at an end.

We all know the story: a dry winter and spring led to a horror summer, with massive fires across the eastern Victorian high countrySnowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Luckily Tasmania got off easy last summer.

Then the lockdown(s), which hit mountain and valley towns in Victoria especially hard, isolated Tasmania, and closed the NSW/ Victorian border. The economic impacts of these events will last for a long time.

And then there were the ongoing arguments about how to treat our mountains. It felt like issues were widespread this year. Here’s a few of them:

Continue reading “2020. It’s been fun. Let’s move on.”

Logging in rainforest buffer zone in East Gippsland

Last summer’s fires devastated large sections of the Victorian Alps and East Gippsland. Government reports show that 31% of Victoria’s rainforests were burnt. Rainforests are fire sensitive, and need to be managed to ensure fire is kept out of these ecosystems. Apart from doing everything possible to stop fires before they get into rainforests, and suppressing fire in these forests, it also means ensuring adequate buffer zones between the rainforest and the surrounding eucalyptus dominated forest.


However, citizen scientists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) in far east Gippsland have discovered that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has failed to put in proper buffers for an area of cool-temperate rainforest on Mt Jersey in East Gippsland which is currently being logged.

Continue reading “Logging in rainforest buffer zone in East Gippsland”

New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) based in far East Gippsland has long been working to protect remaining forests in that part of the state. Working with allies like the Flora and Fauna Research Collective, they have led citizen science projects which have frequently found threatened or endangered species in areas scheduled for logging, then used the law to gain protection of the habitat these species rely on.

Now GECO is warning that a population of the vulnerable  Large Brown Tree Frog is threatened by logging and that a Special Protection Zone placed around the logging is insufficient.

Continue reading “New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging”

Salvage logging in Alpine Ash forests

Last summer’s fires devastated huge sections of Eastern Victoria, and disrupted regional economies in the east of the state.

They burned 1.4 million hectares, much of it forested public land. They destroyed more than 50% of the habitat for 185 rare and threatened Victorian plants and animals. They pushed already critically endangered species like the greater glider, smoky mouse, others perilously close to extinction. They also impacted large areas of Alpine Ash forest, which the government now intends to log.

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Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW

For the last few months there have been sustained, decentralised protests happening against logging operations in Victoria. Check here for some notes on previous actions. It has continued today (June 29) with protests in the Black Range, Toolangi, Lakes Entrance Mt Disappointment and the Pyrenees State Forest, with a symbolic connection to protests being held in NSW.

Continue reading “Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW”

‘Mega’ fires more frequent in Victoria

In Victoria, the frequency of ‘mega’ fires (those greater than 100,000 hectares) has grown significantly over the past century.

  • 19th century – 2 mega fires
  • first half of 20th Century – 4 mega fires
  • 2nd half of 20th century – 7 mega fires
  • In the first 20 years of the 21st century – at least 8 mega fires

This is in spite of the huge advances we have made in fire fighting technology over the past 50 years.

Continue reading “‘Mega’ fires more frequent in Victoria”

A 170 km long firebreak in East Gippsland?

The ABC is reporting that ‘fire-affected communities in eastern Victoria are calling for a permanent firebreak running 170 kilometres along both sides of the Princes Highway to the New South Wales border’.

Continue reading “A 170 km long firebreak in East Gippsland?”

Kuark forest after the fires

The old growth forest of Kuark is (I can’t bring myself to say ‘was’) a jewel in the wild landscape of East Gippsland. It provides habitat for threatened species such as the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls, Greater gliders and Long footed potoroos, and is a rare rainforest type where warm and cool temperate rainforest blend together in an ‘over lap’ assemblage.

There was a long campaign, led by Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and The Wilderness Society to see the Kuark protected. It had considerable success, and was scheduled to be fully protected under a Bill in parliament to include Kuark in the Errinundra National Park.

Then this summer happened. I watched in horror as parts of the legendary Errinundra Plateau burnt and the rainforests of Martins Creek were devastated. I hadn’t heard news of the Kuark until now.

Ed Hill led the campaign to protect the Kuark forest. He has been up there recently. This is his report.

Continue reading “Kuark forest after the fires”

Is road safety work also ‘logging by stealth’?

Following this summer’s devastating fires in East Gippsland, it has taken enormous effort by the authorities to get roads re-opened and made safe. Removal of many thousands of fire affected trees is essential for the safety of road users. However, the scale of the clear felling of large habitat trees occurring along thousands of kilometres of East Gippsland’s roads has disturbed many people.

Residents describe ‘unprecedented clearing’ occurring around Buchan, Black Mountain, Combienbar, Orbost, Goongerah, Cann River, Mallacoota, Cape Conran, state forests inland from Bairnsdale, along the Great Alpine Way and many other fire affected roads in East Gippsland.

Continue reading “Is road safety work also ‘logging by stealth’?”

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