Last week after three days of preventing logging a member of Forest Conservation Victoria was arrested having been suspended from a tall tree which was attached to logging machinery, at a Forest blockade near Mt Baw Baw. The important forest area provides habitat for threatened species and sadly, the logging machines are now continuing to clear fell the forest at the site of the protest.
The community group have also found a number of very large old trees in the logging coupe, and it appears these trees will not be protected. The biggest tree found, a Mountain Grey Gum, is 9.75m in circumference, or 3.1m diameter. There are another three trees that are greater than 2.5m in diameter, with many more large trees in this forest that should be protected. The whole area to be cleared has not been searched as logging is continuing in the coupe near these trees now.
On the 27th of March, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and the premier Daniel Andrews published a media release saying that “the Labor Government will protect all large, old trees greater than two-and-a-half metres in diameter across Victoria.” 6 months later and not only has logging started within the coupe, there have been no signs of surveying for these large trees that need protections. Meanwhile VicForests are continuing to log, and the Environment Department are failing to stop them.
“The announcement says that large trees greater than 2.5m diameter would be protected. We want these giant trees to be protected within the forest they are a part of, not left isolated in a devastated landscape.”
“Unless the forest surrounding these trees is also given protection, the announcement to protect large old trees is meaningless. Instead, these giants will likely be burned in fires following logging or to fall down from exposure and wind.”
One large tree found is just 10 centimetres below the arbitrary 2.5m cut off, even though it is likely about the same age as the other giant trees. It is extremely concerning that logging continues in this area of forest unabated with no action to protect these irreplaceable values.
“The large scale clear-fell logging that has been operating for nearly 50 years in Victoria is pushing our wet and damp forest ecosystems to the brink of collapse. Massive Mountain Grey Gum trees, such as those found within the forests subjected to logging, are disappearing from the landscape.”
“We know that clearing these old trees dries out the forest floor and reduces water yield for the near-by creeks and rivers.”
The community group are calling on Lily D’Ambrosio to direct the Environment Department to halt the logging. These public forests are loved by people across Victorian communities and they should be protected for all, not exploited for the private profit of the logging industry.