PARK WATCH June 2020 |
Nature Conservation Campaigner Jordan Crook on the continued logging in the Central West.
The forests and woodlands of Victoria’s west are sometimes referred to as the “forgotten forests” – and when it comes to compliance and oversight of logging operations, this, unfortunately, rings very true.
In February this year, VNPA representatives met with the state government’s logging company VicForests about the logging of native forest in the Pyrenees Ranges and Mount Cole.
VicForests’ 2019–2023 Timber Utilisation Plan has a steep increase in the number of logging coupes located within the known distribution of the threatened Mount Cole Grevillea and other vulnerable species. Its plan is for an increase in the intensity of planned logging types from “single tree” to “even-aged stand management” – in other words, clearfell logging.
After some questioning, it was revealed that pre-logging survey work to identify biodiversity and conservation values before logging commenced was not being conducted under the Victorian Government’s Forest Protection Survey Program in the west of the state, unlike in the east. Instead of surveys by independent ecologists, the task was being left exclusively in the hands of potentially un-qualified VicForests foresters.
According to a report by the Australian and Victorian governments, there were no forestry audits carried out in the West Regional Forest Agreement between 2015 and 2018, since the audit program was established. We have had assurances from the Office of the Conservation Regulator that these will commence this year, though none have been done to date, even though logging is actively happening or set to happen – including areas proposed to be new parks in the Central West.
VNPA will continue to monitor logging operations in the west. The Central Victorian Uplands bioregion has only 2.7 per cent of its native vegetation largely intact. Across the west are high numbers of threatened plant and animal species. Logging has no place in these high-conservation value areas.
Read next about the first threatened species detection report has been submitted for the west in ‘A rare discovery’.
Did you like reading this article? Want to be kept up to date about this and other nature issues in Victoria? Subscribe to our email updates.
You can also receive our print magazine Park Watch four times a year by becoming a member. Find out more here.