Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brown Mountain forest Potoroos need protection immediately

To Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings

Dear Minister Jennings,

Further to your press release on Friday when you released the DSE survey of Brown Mountain forest in East Gippsland, the presence of threatened and endangered species in the Brown Mountain forest adjacent to the creek warrants the immediate permanent protection of this forest.

I note that the "additional 400 hectares of Brown Mountain to be protected" you announced is in fact already protected.

I also note that the forest in question contains numerous trees that have been confirmed at over 600 years of age and that this forest is designated as "old growth" by the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Reading the DSE report, it states that high density populations of Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders were found. This means they require immediate protection, contrary to you interpretation.

While no Long-footed Potoroos sightings were confirmed by DSE, their diggings were seen in the study area, and the forest type was assessed as good quality habitat for them.

The photograph of a Potoroo taken by a movement sensitive camera within the forest in question on 3am Friday 21 August 2009 now mandates immediate protection of the forest as per the Code of Forest Practice.

Could you please now take action to immediately protect this Brown Mountain forest?

Could you also take action to "protect all remaining old growth forest currently available for logging" as per the Labor Party's election promise and policy commitment made in 2007?

Peter Campbell
(home address and phone number supplied)


UPDATE 3pm Tuesday 25/8/09: DSE visited the camera site today on Brown Mt and have confirmed the LF Potoroo, the site is now ground truthed. From Jill Redwood.


Please consider sending your own email to Gavin Jennings at gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au

and/or call his Ministerial office on (03) 9096 8830

CC your email to your local state MP, Premier John Brumby and Opposition Leader Ted Bailleiu

If you're on Twitter send Gav this message - @GavinJennings stop logging Brown Mountain immediately & protect endangered #potoroos

More information


Carolyn Pilley said...

Please protect Brown Mountain and the beautiful Flora and Fauna that reside here. Im new to climate change group and have just recently lost my home, the bush(Kinglake National Park)and way of life,I find the whole issue of logging Brown Mountain a disgrace and a double blow as so much was lost in Black Saturday.
Concerned for the future for my children.......
Carolyn Pilley

Grant said...

This subject is a perennial with arguments on both sides.
What happens if we stop controlled hard wood logging? The most obvious answer is already happening, with boat loads of hardwood timber being imported into Australia to meet our needs from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Sth America etc. where there are no (or virtually none), government controls on logging.
Hardwood plantation timber can assist with a percentage of our requirements, and another percentage can be made up with softwood plantation timber, but unless we log local under controls, then we will need to import, as we are increasingly doing.
There are alternatives for hardwood, but I am not sure of the environmental (and cost) impact of increasing steel and aluminum production, for example to make load bearing house frames, for the thousands of homes we need to build each year.
To me, the whole argument comes down to a moral issue. Do we allow hardwood logging under Government controls, or do we just say no, and shift the problem off shore to countries where there are virtually no Government controls, and import our hardwood needs.

DB said...

Despite perennial argument, one side of the debate continues to win out and the oldest forests continue to be logged.
Many of us ARE sure of the environmental cost of increased aluminium and steel production, and it remains signifcantly less than that of continued levels of timber production. Government and local controls? Monetary cost? As a government scientist I have seen too many failed coupes,'wasted' felled timber on the forest floor deemed uneconomic to remove, massive trees felled only to be left when minor 'defects' are found, burnt coupes seeded only with commercial species and not the original flora, drainage line buffer zones 'accidentally' harvested, and fire breaks 'mistakenly' cleared much wider than planned. The truth is that the forests of East Gippsland were harvested too intensively in earlier decades and this, coupled with poor growth modelling by 'experts', has led to the current situation - no realistic timber sources for at least 10-15 yrs until the oldest of the regrowth reaches maturity ... unless we harvest the last of the old growth of course. And after that - what's left?
Yes, its a moral issue for me as well. And I can no longer approve of native forest logging just because we haven't bothered to adopt subsitutes for framing our houses or wiping our backsides with. And the argument that we should sacrifice our own forests so that other countries don't have to ... ? I'll let others comment on the holes in that one.
The government is now in a quandry - does it meets its obligations to the timber industry or its obligations to its biodiversity legislation?

Helen said...


MW Poynter said...

This is a belated response, but as you purport to be a government scientist, your lack of knowledge of this issue is a concern.

You are quite wrong about the comparitive environmental impacts of timber versus steel, aluminium and concrete.

Timber is renewable - others are not.

To mine and manufacture the same unit of product - steel manufacture requires 350 times the carbon emissions involved in timber production. Aluminium requires 1400 times more carbon emissions, and concrete 6 to 8 times. Clearly, to combat climate change we should use more wood and less steel, aluminium and concrete.

You said: " ... unless we harvest the last of the old growth. After that - what's left?" The answer to your question is - plenty will be left!

East Gippsland has 225,000 ha of old growth forest. As of October 2006, 191,000 ha of this (or about 85%) was located within some kind of park or reserve and so was unavailable for logging. Since then, the Goolengook old growth has been made unavailable for logging.

In addition, a further 123,000 of negligbly disturbed mature forest in East Gippslands parks and reserves is expected to have attained the 'old growth' stage by 2050.

There is clearly no shortage of old growth forest and there will not be in the future even if timber harvesting occurs in the 15% portion where it is permitted.

Timber production on the scale now occurring in Australia's native forests has negligble impact on our biodiversity. The LF Potoroo is a good example - it was first discovered in 25-30 year old logging regrowth near Manorina (EGippsland) in the early 1980s and for many years was thought to be restricted to this habitat type.

As Grant said ... this is a moral issue about whether this country takes some responsibility for its consumption or just mindlessly reserves everything on the basis of erroneous notions about the fragility of our in fact resilient, and disturbance-reliant forest environments.