Endangered Wildlife

Victoria’s state Faunal Emblem, the Leadbeaters Possum is more endangered than the Giant Pandas of China. Yet VicForests with the blessing of Napthine’s Liberal/National government keeps on destroying the last patches of their known habitat, all the while telling us they are looking after it.

In East Gippsland, a landmark Supreme Court case showed VicForests was logging without looking. They’d of course prefer not to see rare and endangered wildlife because they’d then have to protect them – y’know, abide by … the law.

It was clear that they have been illegally killing rare wildlife for years. In response, and in keeping with their underhanded operations, VicForests set up a system of surveys specially designed to give minimal results. Under-resourced people were sent out with limited time in the wrong season to look for only certain animals. 

The government also helped out by weakening the prescriptions that once protected some of these more ‘problematic’ rare animals. They didn't want these damned rare wildlife endangering VicForests' logging plans.

KUARK – protecting a forest ark

22 September 2016

Supreme Court Case

EEG’s history of taking legal action has become legendary. We are now progressing another legal case to protect some of East Gippsland’s most beautiful stands of forest in an area known as the Kuark (koo-ark). This began in January 2016, with a successful injunction to stop logging granted in February 2016 (until the case is finalised). We argue that VicForests failed to properly look for and protect threatened wildlife, native plants and rainforest.

How it began

There had been a number of other areas in East Gippsland where the citizen science work of GECO and FFRC had identified wildlife such as Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders in areas planned for logging. With the evidence of these species and the help of EEG’s lawyers at EJA writing to VicForests, several forest stands were protected or partly protected. The combination of volunteer survey findings and legal assistance were very effective. 

However, after the survey crews and our lawyers had informed VicForests of findings in three particular coupes in the Kuark forests, it refused to do what we believed they were obliged to, as they had in the other areas.  Despite relevant legislation, the EG Forest Management Plan, Management Procedures, Planning Standards and the Code of Practice for Timber Production, logging continued.

EEG applied for and was granted an urgent interlocutory injunction on 13th February 2016.    We are now seeking orders declaring that the logging in these coupes is unlawful and to continue this injunction until VicForests comply with their legal obligations.

 

The three forest stands in dispute

There are three logging coupes in dispute. VicForests named one ‘Tin shed’, coupe number 830-507-0023, which was half logged (early January) but had not been surveyed despite the likely presence of rare species.

One to its south is called ‘Webbed feet’ coupe no 507-0020 (late Jan/Feb), and has a substantial area of rainforest within it. This coupe has had major disturbance from snig tracks across half the area but with only a relatively small part of it logged. The injunction prevented further damage.

The third coupe is called ‘Drop Bear’, numbered 507-0021 and was marked as ‘in progress’. It is an untouched stand of rich forest to the north west adjoining Webbed Feet that VicForests now claim it has no intention to log this year.

The good guys gazump the bad this time!

29 April 2016

The Bad news is that VicForests continues to clearfell in ecologically valuable forests which have barely had an adequate survey or none at all. This means VicForests continue, as always, to destroy rare wildlife, rainforest, giant trees and critical habitat.

The Good news is that the surveyors from GECO again found a massive breach of the law by VicForests and managed to halt the logging. VicForests had sent their logging crew into a stand of old growth forest near Bendoc on the Errinundra Plateau, habitat of the protected Greater Gliders. A very high density of 11 gliders along just 850m of forest were detected during a random spotlighting session on 28th April 2016 in an area that was being logged. This high density population was not picked up by VicForests - but should have been.

Summer legal actions stop VicForests in its (bulldozer) tracks

9 February 2016

On three occasions between mid-December 2015 and early February 2016, EEG has been forced to engage lawyers from Environment Justice Australia . We believe VicForests is consistently not taking its legal obligations regarding environmental protection seriously and Minister Neville’s Environment Department is yet to to take action. Keep reading for more details of our most recent legal adventures ...

Legal action forces VicForests to survey

4 February 2016

Action taken by Environment East Gippsland and their lawyers, Environmental Justice Australia, has resulted in VicForests today agreeing to halt logging and survey for rare wildlife and plants in a stand of East Gippsland’s forests rich in threatened species.

“Sadly, since mid-January and while negotiations have been going on, VicForests continued to clearfell this amazingly valuable forest where four rare and threatened wildlife and two plant species were discovered by volunteer surveyors” said Jill Redwood from EEG. “It’s a shame that so much has been destroyed in this time, in an area that clearly should have been surveyed by trained biologists before the chainsaws moved in”.

VicForests facing legal action again

15 December 2015

The state government owned logging company VicForests, is in the legal crosshairs of environmentalists yet again.  Lawyers acting on behalf of Environment East Gippsland have this week formally requested an explanation as to why a rich habitat site suited for rare forest-dependant wildlife was not surveyed before logging commenced last week.

“We believe this is a strong case of non-compliance with the law”, said EEG’s Jill Redwood. “This beautiful stand of wet forest contains old growth trees, rainforest and many habitat traits essential for rare and threatened wildlife. It should have been surveyed.”

“We won our Brown Mountain case in 2010 when VicForests logged without checking for the presence of rare native animals.  It seems they haven’t learnt.”

Hollow effort VicForests

29 November 2015

In the 50 years since Leadbeaters possum was rediscovered, logging has destroyed more than 50% of the forests that were the possums habitat. Leadbeaters possum now lives in an area in the Central Highlands that has about 25 million trees.

In their latest cynical publicity stunt, Vicforests have created artificial hollows in 78 of these trees or 0.0003% of the trees in the LBP habitat area.

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