State-owned VicForests wants to log Victoria’s High Country between the Mount Stirling Alpine Resort and the Alpine National Park.
The Stirling-Alpine Link ranges from mixed species forests at its lower elevations, up to the iconic Snow Gum Woodlands at its peak elevations. These landscapes are important habitats for many threatened plants and animals.
Endangered forest-dependent animals like the Greater Glider and Sooty Owl, both of which are highly susceptible to the impacts of timber harvesting, are at risk.
The Stirling-Alpine Link is also vital habitat for the western-most population of the endangered Long-Footed Potoroo, and the only populations west of the King River.
At least 11 areas proposed for logging between November 2022 and April 2023 are listed on the VicForests logging schedule, with fears that logging could commence any day now.
The forests proposed for logging contain large hollow-bearing trees and high-quality habitat for threatened wildlife like the Southern Greater Glider and Sooty Owl, and the vulnerable Yellow-bellied Glider.
In the higher elevation forests, VicForests has proposed logging within ecotonal forest, a mix of mature Alpine Ash Forest with scattered patches of Snow Gum Woodland mixed throughout. Some of these Snow Gums are long-unburnt and serve as ecological relics within this ecosystem which is usually prone to regular fires. Threatened plants like the endangered Royal Grevillea have been recorded in this area.
The Link’s creeks and streams are also safe haven for the Mount Stirling Stonefly, which is endemic to the Mount Buller-Mount Stirling area, and the Barred Galaxias, a native fish which is restricted to just 10 catchments of the Goulburn River system. There are key populations of Barred Galaxias near the Bindaree Falls and VicForests have proposed logging in the catchments directly upstream. Increased sedimentation associated with the proposed logging could directly kill the Barred Galaxias, deteriorate food resources and decrease its habitat quality.
Logging Mount Stirling would scar the mountain escarpment and increase sedimentation into beautiful mountain streams – including Falls Creek and Bindaree Creek, which hosts the stunning Bindaree Falls.
Victoria’s High Country is sensitive and should not be subject to destructive logging operations. The area should become part of the Alpine National Park, or comprehensively assessed to make sure suitable protections are put in place.
Places like the Stirling-Alpine Link should be permanantly safeguarded and managed for their ecological significance, touristic values so current and future generations can have positive recreational experiences in these beautiful landscapes.