Save the Tallarook Forest – the Campaign in underway!

Great progress has been made with building momentum to protect the Tallarook State Forest from logging. A new group, Friends of Tallarook Forest, has been formed (allied with BEAM), by a dozen or so neighbours and users of the forest. We have created a change.org petition, opened a facebook page, had articles in the media, contacted politicians, and started surveying the endangered species in the proposed logging coupes.

Photo:  Greater Glider

Lobbying and publicity

 The petition change.org/Save the Tallarook Forest was launched on 22 August, and has already clocked up over 2,600 signatures at time of writing. We are getting about 100 new signatures each day.

Our facebook page Save the Tallarook Forest, was created on 31 August. We are using it to report on campaign progress, and post photographs, videos and information about the trees, animals, birds and plants of the forest. We have 86 followers so far – a facebook following builds more slowly than a petition!

We’ve designed a flier, distributed it at the September Tallarook Farmers Market and will continue to circulate it widely.

One main thread of the campaign is to lobby the relevant Victorian Ministers and MPs. We’ve written directly Jaclyn Symes (Minister for Agriculture, Regional Development and Resources). An advisor to Symes has replied in general terms that there are no plans to log in the current financial year, and they are considering selective logging, rather than clearfelling. There is plenty of wriggle-room in this response. We are also encouraging BEAM members, and the wider public, to write directly to these Ministers, and also selected Greens, Liberal and National MPs. We’ve created some form letters for this which you can access here.

Finding threatened species

 Recording the locations of threatened species is a crucial campaign program. VicForests is required to not log within defined zones around recorded locations of greater gliders, powerful owls and sooty owls, all of which have been sighted in the Tallarook Forest. The higher the population density of these animals, then the more complicated the logging will be. If it is too complicated, they will probably not consider it worthwhile logging these coupes.

The most important animals to record are active at night. WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands) has provided advice and training in how to spotlight with powerful torches, record video evidence, and note GPS locations. Although our surveying has only just commenced we have already found dozens of greater gliders, indicating that the Tallarook Forest is an important sanctuary for this vulnerable species. We have also found koalas, sugar gliders, feathertail gliders, mountain brush-tailed possums, kookaburras, cockatoos, woodswallows and more. It’s exciting and awe-inspiring getting into the forest and night and seeing how lively the nocturnal communities are.

Financial support from BEAM members has enabled us to buy sets of the equipment we need to this work, and we encourage people to join us in the night survey. There’s a lot of forest to cover.

Native forests in other parts of Victoria, such as the Strathbogies, Mirboo North and Warburton, have had logging plans cancelled because of community pressure. We can definitely Save the Tallarook Forest!

How you can get involved:

  • Sign the petition change.org/Save the Tallarook Forest, and add your comments. These will go to VicForests with the petition.
  • Join our forest survey teams – video recording the locations of individuals from threatened species.
  • Follow Save the Tallarook Forest facebook page and invite your Friends to follow too
  • Write to the Ministers and MPs – details here
  • Write letters to newspapers

Prepared by Paul Macgregor

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