EARTHCHAT: Rubicon Forest Action Group

Friday 1 April 10am and Saturday 2 April 8am, with Peter and David:

Nick Legge is a member of Rubicon Forest Action Group and has a long history of knowledge and policy skills with forestry.

EarthChat this week invites this skilled former forester to discuss native forestry operations, and we ask him whether there is a future for native forestry at all. If so, what would this look like? What would have to change with the current VicForest approach to how a forest is viewed, as more than just sawlogs and pulp. Where does farm forestry fit into this picture?

Nick achieved a BSc majoring in botany Melb Uni, 1975, then did a PhD in “water relations of Mountain Ash Forest” at LaTrobe Uni 1980.

He spent 3 years lecturing forest ecology, tree physiology, forest soils at School of Forestry, University of Technology PNG.

After 25 years policy advisory and management roles, various departments, including Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance and Health Nick retired from VPS and moved to Taggerty in 2011 to rebuild a house lost in Black Saturday fire.

In 2015 Nick helped form Rubicon Forest Protection Group and authored Unsustainable!, a submission to VicForests and State Government Ministers on the unsustainability of logging in the Rubicon State Forest.

New variable retention logging methods adopted by VicForests in recent years for native forest logging options are an improvement on broadscale clearfelling, which was the dominant approach in ash forests, and in effect in mixed species forests, but are too little too late.

And there is also a catch – the new Allocation Order (2019) allows the net harvested area to be tallied toward the 5 year harvest limit, whereas AOs orders tallied the gross area. This allows many more coupes to be opened up than previously and even though the logged area of each coupe will be smaller, could easily allow even more forest to be logged!