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.
Logging continued in many places around the country during the COVID-19 lock down. Environmental activists and locals concerned about logging operations were disciplined and largely stayed at home during the pandemic.
Now, this long wait has overflowed into action. In Tasmania, people have occupied trees in forest being cut near Mt Field. On the south coast of NSW, the community of Manyana is opposing the destruction of unburnt forest for a housing development, and now actions have happened across the Central Highlands of Victoria. This follows sustained action by locals at Big Pats Creek near Warburton.
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.
For those willing to look, the evidence has been available for years: logging increases fire severity. Industry advocates continue to claim that ‘logging reduces fire risk’. But it should be obvious to any impartial observer that ‘removing large established trees actually increases the amount of flammable fuel, with unshaded stumps and new-grown saplings dried out by the sun and wind serving as ‘kindling’ for the flames’.
This has been backed up again by range of prominent scientists.
Local group Protect Warburton Ranges (facebook page here) have expressed alarm that a planned clearfelling operation near the town will threaten local water security.
This area is being logged at present (May 2020). Most recent updates at the top, please scroll down for background information.
Recently, members of Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) observed a critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum within an active logging coupe (480-509-0013, called ‘Desilijic’) in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. Habitat just 100 metres away had already been clearfelled – well within the buffer zone triggered by this Leadbeater’s Possum detection.
Now WOTCH have heard that an interim protective buffer zone has been established surrounding the Leadbeater’s Possum detection.
Yet again, this highlights the value of citizen science in ensuring endangered species are protected.
As post logging burns darken the sky across eastern Victoria, a growing number of community groups are mobilising to oppose the practise of the burns.
Post logging fires are different to fuel reduction burns. Post logging fires are meant to remove all the debris left behind from logging – the unwanted trees, the heads and branches, and the understory vegetation. Generally the waste is pushed into piles and burnt.
While we are all patiently sitting at home in order to do our bit and ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 infections, logging continues at full speed in the forests of Victoria. And Tasmania has just signed over up to 356 000 hectares of forests that should be in reserves to now be available for logging.
Industrial scale clear-fell logging is NOW taking place in the Snobs Creek Valley. The Central Highlands are the most heavily logged area in Australia. The highly biodiverse ecosystem of mountain and alpine ash in the Rubicon State Forest has been virtually logged-out.
Lead beaters possum and Greater Gliders are widespread through the Snobs Valley. In one night 30 Greater Gliders were found in one of the proposed Vicforests logging coupes. These animals are listed as threatened species under the federal EPBC Act.
The three coupes currently being logged at Snobs are: Shackle, Snobs 13 and Snobs 14 and other sensitive coupes are also being logged at Torbreck and Bull fight (see map).