Forest Conservation Victoria and the Rubicon Forest Protection Group have established a blockade this morning to highlight extreme logging in one of Victoria’s most ecologically diverse mountain forest areas: the Rubicon State Forest.
This is an area ravaged by the 2009 Black Saturday fire and the Rubicon and Royston Valleys are devastated by logging so extensive that multiple provisions of the Code of Practice for Timber Harvesting have been breached.
The ecological calamity that has befallen the Rubicon and Royston River Valleys will soon hit the iconic Snobs Creek Valley – the last unspoilt valley in the Rubicon Forest. As well as the source of clear cool mountain water essential for the Snobs Creek fish hatchery, the area is known to be home to several threatened species and hosts a remarkable diversity of plant species many of which will not survive clearfell logging and regeneration burning.
“The Royston Range contains one of the largest continuous areas of logged forest in the state with a total logged area of around 1,000 ha since 2009, equivalent to almost 600 MCGs,” said former forestry academic, Dr Nick Legge.
“At current rates the Rubicon State Forest will be logged out in 4 years, with remaining intact areas of mature Mountain Ash forest completely gone,” said Dr Legge.
Breaches of the regulations go largely unchecked, with the regulator – the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) – completely ineffective in arresting this unfolding ecological disaster. As if its ineffectiveness was not enough, DELWP last month released proposals to dramatically weaken the Code.
The Rubicon Forest Protection Group calls for the Government to establish a moratorium on logging this remarkable area while the program to ‘modernise’ Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements – dodgy logging deals agreed with the Commonwealth last century – is underway.