Firewood for the future
In March 2012 the Baillieu Government lit a fuse under Victorian conservationists by announcing the end of a firewood collection system that had helped protect threatened species in state forests for more than half a century.
The decision to open up these state forests to unregulated firewood collection quickly led to a firewood 'free-for-all' that cleared out important ground litter habitat (the small logs animals call home) and deprived locals in Central Victoria of winter firewood supplies.
There were even reports of truck-mounted cranes being used to remove firewood from wood lots traditionally used by local home owners.
Decision endangers iconic wildlife
State forest areas open to unregulated firewood collection provide important habitat for threatened wildlife such as Brush-tailed Phascogales, Diamond Firetails, Grey-crowned Babblers, Speckled Warblers and the nationally endangered Swift Parrot.
The original firewood permit system was introduced by the Liberal Bolte Government in 1958 to ensure Victoria's forests were used and managed responsibly.
For nearly 60 years these regulations have been respected by successive Victorian governments, until the Baillieu Government decided to scrap them in favour of a firewood free-for-all.
The negative impacts of unregulated firewood collection have been well known for a long time.
Dead timber provides habitat for a range of native fauna, some threatened. Research shows that 37% of Victorian mammals use tree hollows as nest or roost sites. Hollow-nesting birds alone form 39% of woodland and forest bird species.
The Victorian National Parks Association is now calling on the Baillieu Government to introduce a new permit system for firewood collection from public land in Victoria.
We also want to see greater support for farmers to help them develop small-scale wood lots for firewood collection.
Write to Premier Ted Baillieu and Victorian environment minister Ryan Smith and tell them their unregulated firewood free-for-all is not on.
You can also contact your local state politician asking them to to support the recommendations in VEAC Remnant Native Vegetation report.
If you don't know who your local representative in the Victorian Parliament is you can find out by visiting the parliamentary website.
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