MEDIA RELEASE 30 April 2021 |
Victorian National Parks Association and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) statement.
On the east side of Mount Baw Baw, some of the biggest trees on mainland Australia stand as they have for hundreds of years, on the traditional land of the Gunaikurnai people.
But the fate of these trees is under imminent threat from state-owned logging company VicForests, who plan to conduct logging within 30 metres of these forest giants.
The Victorian National Parks Association and The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) have written to the Acting Premier and the Minister for the Environment, urging the government to protect this stand of giant trees, including an Errinundra Shining Gum (known as the Whitelaw Tree) that is the 5th largest tree by volume on mainland Australia. See link to list here.
The Whitelaw Tree and four other trees are all listed on the National Trusts of Australia’s National Register of Significant Trees as being of State significance. Since 1982, the National Trust has classified trees of Regional or State significance across Australia. Trees on the register are assessed by an expert committee which includes some of the country’s pre-eminent tree experts, and measured against the best examples in the state.
The iconic Whitelaw Tree stands 57 metres tall, with an impressive girth of over 14 metres. The tree can be accessed via a signed track and is visited regularly by tourists. Logging and associated activities such as post-logging slash burning are known to kill large old trees in the immediate vicinity of coupes. This is a well-documented occurrence, and it is unclear why logging operations would target this important tourism area.
These trees are also within the Thomson Reservoir Catchment area, an area critical to maintaining water supply to Melbourne. Continued logging of native forests in Melbourne water catchments is known to reduce the resilience of these systems and reduce the quality and amount of run off into our water catchments.
The Victorian National Parks Association and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) are calling on the Victorian Government to remove 3 logging coupes off the Timber Release Plan, in order to protect these giant trees and waterways into the future.
VNPA Nature Conservation Officer and Arborist Jordan Crook said, “It makes no sense for the state government to allow logging near this close to these exceptional and giant trees.”
“Logging will kill and damage these living giants through wind throw events due to loss of surrounding vegetation community, breakage of roots from heavy machinery and changes in local hydrology. We know logging near these trees will damage and kill these trees.
“With only 9 years left of native logging in Victoria, we shouldn’t be logging anywhere near these tourism assets and our living natural heritage.”
Simon Ambrose, CEO of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), said “the National Trust Register of Significant Trees catalogues the most exceptional trees across the state. Many giant trees are popular tourist destinations, demonstrating the significant social value these trees provide. Conservation of these trees benefits not only the natural environment, but also provides boosts to local economies and contributes to our culture and way of life.”