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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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forests

Old Growth ‘verification’ threatens forest protection

In November, the Victorian government announced that logging native forests will end in 2030. The government also committed to state-wide protections for 90,000ha of old growth forests, and 96,000ha of new protected areas, 48,500 of which are in East Gippsland. An action statement for the threatened Greater Glider was also finally released.

An ongoing issue has been the question of how and when the Old Growth would be protected. The state government has now provided details on how this will occur, and this has confirmed fears by environmental groups that protection will be watered down through the methodology that will be used.

East Gippsland based activist group Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) has issued a call for members of the public to engage in the process around Old Growth modelling. 

Continue reading “Old Growth ‘verification’ threatens forest protection”

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?”

‘The Rainforests are burning’

In 2016 and 2019, large areas of Tasmania were burnt by wild fires, including vegetation that is normally too moist to burn. Last year it happened in rainforests on the Lamington Tablelands in south east Queensland. It is a highly unusual event for these areas to burn, but one that appears to be occurring more frequently in recent times. Now the same thing is happening in northern New South Wales.

This loss and destruction of ancient fire sensitive ecosystems is heartbreaking. Sending much love and solidarity to our friends in the North who are facing these terrible fires.

Continue reading “‘The Rainforests are burning’”

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”

Victorian public wants to see forests protected

Results of a public survey conducted by the Victorian government show overwhelming support for protecting native forests from logging, and provide the Andrews Labor government with a strong platform to protect forests and transition jobs out of the native forest logging sector, say environment groups.

The survey shows that:

  • The public think that the future of industry is in plantations
  • Victorians support protecting forests and improved forest recreation opportunities
  • Results show no need to continue with the failed Regional Forest Agreements

Continue reading “Victorian public wants to see forests protected”

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.

Citizen Science Survey Camp – Spring 2018

The Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), based in far east Gippsland is hosting a citizen science survey over the Melbourne Cup long weekend in November (November 3 – 6, 2018).

“You will learn from the dedicated and passionate ecologists and activists at GECO whose citizen science campaign is saving forests from logging. We’ll be based in and around Goongerah, including surrounding high conservation value and old growth forests, and the iconic Kuark forest”.

Continue reading “Citizen Science Survey Camp – Spring 2018”

Climate change influencing tree death in times of drought

In Australia, we know that climate change driven fire regimes are impacting on plant species in mountain environments.

Research published earlier this year in the journal Nature Climate Change describes a series of ‘sudden and catastrophic ecosystem shifts’ that have occurred recently across Australia. These changes, caused by the combined stress of gradual climate change and extreme weather events, are overwhelming ecosystems’ natural resilience.

In the south east of the continent, in terms of massive fires (greater than 250,000 ha), Victoria experienced two such events in the 19th century and five in the 20th century. In less than two decades, we have already had three mega fires in the 21st century. This has led to fears that Alpine Ash could become extinct in many parts of the alps unless we intervene through more extensive wildfire suppression or artificial seeding. It appears that increased fire frequency is the key factor impacting on the likely survival of plant species like the alpine ash.

New research, covered in the Colorado-based High Country News, points to temperature rise as an issue for mountain species in sections of North America.

Continue reading “Climate change influencing tree death in times of drought”

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