Press release 14th March 2021
Despite eventually having a video meeting, then a forest meeting with VicForests,
the meetings we have had have not mollified our concerns about their logging plans
for the Tallarook Forest.
VicForests have said that they will only cut fifty per cent of the trees in the logging
coupes. That is still fifty per cent too many. BEAM’s citizen science surveys have
discovered a very high number of massive ancient trees, hundreds of years old. The
coupes planned for logging are an old growth forest, and should not be logged at all.
That is Victorian government policy since 2019: No more logging in old growth forest.
VicForests has not bothered to do an old growth forest assessment, even though
most of the coupes to be logged have not been harvested for more than sixty years,
so far back there are no records of earlier logging.
As climate change advances, we need to do all we can to draw down carbon
from the atmosphere. Keeping old growth forest is an important way to do this.
Surveys conducted over the last 12 months have found more than one hundred
greater gliders, as well as powerful owls, sooty owls and koalas. All of these iconic
animals face increasing risk of extinction.
The forest in the Tallarook Ranges is an island refuge, a cool mountain plateau that provides a refuge for these species from the current march of global warming. DELWP released 400 koalas into the forest five years ago. It is crazy to then decimate their habitat through logging. The Tallarook Forest is also home to rare flora, but no flora survey has been
conducted by VicForests. The beautiful spotted hyacinth orchid, the large leaf
cinnamon wattle, the yarra gum, will all be damaged by logging.
If the logging plans go ahead, the new trees that grow in the gaps will create an
increased bushfire risk. Young trees also need a lot more water than mature trees,
so the water supply for the surrounding catchment will be decreased.
The logging vehicles, and the process of cutting down trees, will also severely
damage the ground cover and understory.
Tallarook Forest is an important site for the bee industry. Apiarists rely on the flowers of the forest, most of which grow in the understory. For the sake of a few cubic metres of timber and pulpwood, the highly valued bee industry, so critical for Victorian agriculture, will be compromised.
It is Victorian government policy to phase out all logging in native forests by 2030.
Despite this, VicForests admitted that their logging techniques are designed to allow
the trees left behind to grow to a size better for logging in another thirty years.
So VicForests, an agency owned by the Victorian government, is planning its current
logging operations with an eye to logging again after 2030. This is unacceptable.
BEAM remains committed to the public education and advocacy campaign for the
Tallarook Forest to progress to a State Park, a reserve beyond the threats from
logging and habitat destruction.