Citizen scientists from Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) and the Victorian Forest Alliance (VFA) have discovered state-owned logging company VicForests has continued to illegally destroy numerous endangered Tree Geebungs while doing ‘regeneration’ works. The area is within the Immediate Protection Areas announced by the Daniel Andrews government back in 2019. One tree knocked over is estimated to be hundreds of years old.
"Legal update for Gliders... Wildlife Act re-write... Protesters halt log traffic for 5 hours ... Giant tree found – 14m around ... NSW parliament unanimous against biomass burning..." Read the details inside.
Not so good news
Vic’s biodiversity in steady decline - govt report
Clearfelling our logging laws
Protection deception – giant trees
Glamming up garbage incineration
Money splashed to assist logging
Bairnsdale sawmill attacks local
$2M given to wood-incinerator - 5 jobs
Yet to prove good or bad
Burnt offerings to Gliders
Major Events (Bushfire) Review – but resistance to less logging/more reserves
The recent announcement by the Victorian State government to ban native forest logging on public land in Eastern Victoria has been strongly welcomed by local environment groups including the Otway Ranges Environment Network(OREN) and Geelong Environment Council(GEC). Although the local communities of Eastern Victorian will need to go through a transition, claims of economic doom and gloom are unfounded. The logging phase out process to be completed by 2030 for Eastern Victoria is very similar to the process used to phase out native forest logging the Otway Ranges that successfully transitioned the local community and economy between 2002 and 2008.
“When the Otways logging ban was announced in 2002, wild claims were made that the Otways region would be economically devastated if native forest logging came to an end, that there would be mass unemployment” said Simon Birrell spokesperson for Otway Ranges Environment Network. “Claims were made that in Colac, where a number of hardwood sawmills were located, the town would die and that the Midway woodchip mill would close down. Instead nature based tourism has significantly expanded in the Otway region and this can easily be the case for Eastern Victoria.”
“For example, the Otway town of Forrest was founded on logging and had a sawmill mill that was phased out. It is now a hub for those who go mountain bike riding through the forests. Shops that were derelict when the local sawmill was operating have now been renovated and opened as a café. There are accommodation businesses. In another example, Otways logs once went to the Birregurra sawmill. Now many people who live in Birri work as part of the tourism service industries along the Great Ocean Road.”
“For the Otways there was six year transition between 2002 and 2008, for east of the State it will be a ten year transition to 2030. Claims the towns such as Orbost will die are rubbish. Orbost can easily be developed has a major gateway hub for nature based tourism to see the wonders of the tall forests and magnificent scenery the region of far East Gippsland has to offer. What needs to happen is investment in making the place more accessible for visitors and a marketing campaign to promote the wonders of the area so more visitors go.”
“It is concerning that Federal Government ministers were so quick to condemn the Eastern Victorian logging phase out. The Federal coalition government should note that the Victorian Liberal Party supported the Otway logging ban in 2005 and voted to support passage of legislation to ban logging and create the Great Otway National Park. Rather than irresponsibly talk up the negative, it is hoped both the State and Federal Liberal and National Parties will work in a bi-partisan way with the State Government to ensure a just and fair transition for the communities impacted by this decisions and jointly explore nature conservation tourism employment opportunities.”
“Finally, both OREN and GEC have recently been lobbying the State and Federal Governments to cancel the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) that covers the Otways, given logging has already ended. We suspect that the requirement to renew the RFAs, by March next year, has prompted the State Government to announce this latest logging ban decision given there are also four RFAs that cover the East of the State and, if renewed, they would have guaranteed logging to the year 2040. This would have been irresponsible. All the RFAs need to be cancelled as they now all come into conflict with this new State Government policy to phase out native forest logging across Victoria by 2030.”
Environment East Gippsland (EEG) has won its fourth successful legal case, in a remarkable series for this David vs the Goliath of logging and destroying habitat. Over 2000 hectares have been set aside for owl habitat in a legal win for the owls. This was EEG's fourth Court case challenging the government's non-adherence to its own environment laws and it was settled on 17 July 2015, in favour of the owls!
EEG, DELWP and VicForests have agreed that the environment department (DELWP) take action to adhere to legal obligations and increase owl protected areas as well as assess the damage done to owl habitat and study owls post-fire to inform whether new protection zones are necessary. Logging in key areas of unprotected owl habitat scheduled for clearfelling will be halted for 4 years while this work is underway.
The department and VicForests have agreed to:
- move 9 stands of old growth forest off the logging schedule and into protection zones
- put a 4 year moratorium on another 16 stands of prime owl habitat planned for clearfelling
- increase the size of all owl protected areas that are below legal minimums in East Gippsland
- task biologists to study owls post-fire and consider if additional owl protection measures are needed
- carry out assessments of burnt owl zones
- pay a portion of our considerable legal costs
The department and VicForests have agreed to:
- move 9 stands of old growth forest off the logging schedule and into protection zones
- put a 4 year moratorium on another 16 stands of prime owl habitat planned for clearfelling
- increase the size of all owl protected areas that are below legal minimums in East Gippsland
- task biologists to study owls post-fire and consider if additional owl protection measures are needed
- carry out assessments of burnt owl zones
- pay a portion of our considerable legal costs
Specific areas include:
An additional 180ha added to a protection site for the Powerful Owl in the Cobon forest including 58ha that was scheduled for clearfelling. An additional 1,390 ha of good quality forest for the Masked Owls (including 500ha within Kuark and 36ha that was scheduled for logging).
Brown Mountain’s remaining unprotected stands of 580ha (including a Powerful Owl nest site) to be included in a Special Protection Zone, including 185ha that was scheduled for logging.
Forests totalling 537ha planned for imminent clearfelling will be put under a 4 year moratorium. This includes old growth areas of:
- 235 ha around Bonang-Bendoc
- 65ha at Martins Creek
- 237ha around Kuark/Freds Track
The case was launched 10 month ago when the Napthine government was in power. Then Ministers Walsh and Smith refused to review the owl protection zones. Although we were disappointed that the new Labor government chose to continue along the legal path for some 7 months, we are pleased that it now accepts that it must do more work to ensure our large forest owls survive.
We look forward to working with the department on these owl protection measures over the next year while continuing to demand permanent protection for all remaining old growth forests and the many other threatened wildlife species in East Gippsland.
In summer 2014 bushfires raged across some of East Gippsland’s best old growth forests in and around the Snowy River National Park. The loss of primary habitat for many threatened wildlife was obvious. The constant crashing of hollow bearing trees for 2 months (and afterwards, thanks to the department’s habit of falling every big tree within cooee of a track) made it clear this would have a shocking toll on wildlife – especially those dependent on old trees with large hollows.
There were 46 protected owl zones impacted in the final 170,000ha of burnt forest (much of which was deliberately burnt by the department). Some zones suffered very severe fire that killed trees and ‘evaporated’ the understorey. Others had less severe fire through them but still resulted in many hollow bearing trees being lost.
Owls, gliders, frogs, bandicoots, potoroos and untold other species were wiped out in the inferno. It will take decades for the damage from this shockingly managed fire to start to recover. East Gippsland’s rare species that relied on the Snowy Park for refuge will now be under even greater threat and need all the help they can get.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council wrote on September 1, 2014 to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications: "We condemn the Abbott Government’s attacks on the Great Barrier Reef, other priceless environmental institutions and native wildlife across Australia. We are dismayed by their lack of environmental protection since [the Abbott Government's]coming to power."
We express our shock and disgust at the attitude of the Coalition Government for their failure to see how important our environment is to many of us. It provides us with clean air, water, food - the essential elements of life for all species on this planet. Barnaby Joyce, Christopher Pyne, Warren Trusss, Eddie Abetz, too many Coalition M.P.’s and Ministers, treat the environment with total contempt [and] disregard!
It was a bad start for the government when it scrapped our climate policies and agencies:
• Carbon tax/pricing, Climate Commission, Climate Change Authority, and attempts to end Energy Renewable Target.
• It is shocking to see federal laws handed to the states. In Victoria, the Environment department, Department of Sustainability and Environment merged primary industries (DEPI) slashing jobs Not only jobs have been lost, but valuable field guides that identify wetlands, rainforests and others were thrown into the rubbish. Federal powers handed to Victoria when state laws like the FFG Act have not been revised, updated since inception; parts of the act have never been used.
• East Gippsland took DSE to court to ensure threatened species got recovery plans. The FFG is working in reverse as species should be taken of threatened species list because they’ve been recovered; species that need to be put on the list aren't being added due to a lack of resources.
• Cuts to the community are disgraceful - Environmental Defenders Office, Landcare, and Caring for Country. Axing of the Biodiversity fund is a shock as it is replaced with nothing.
• Abbott governments’ disregard in undermining our nations compliance with the World Heritage Convention regarding the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area.
• Finally we in AWPC are disappointed, even ashamed of our local MP, Environment Minister who sends out a Newsletter with photos of himself ‘having fun’ with locals while he always refers decisions of national environmental significance such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot in our electorate to someone else, as apparently there is a conflict of interest?
Minister Greg Hunt has been an enormous disappointment when appointed as Environment Minister, which, with it comes certain responsibilities to CARE FOR COUNTRY. He even called the local police when we demonstrated outside his office against something of concern to many of us. What an absolute disregard for democracy and for the environment.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council
As a result of a peculiarity in the way Government works, the motion to call native forest furnace electricity ‘renewable energy’, has been sneakily placed on the 'non-controversial' list. That means that unless the Labor Government decides to force a vote, within days this back-door change in renewable energy policy could sneak through Parliament without there even being a vote!
Tony Windsor has publicly stated he won’t be voting for the Oakeshott motion to burn forests for power – thanks to all of you who emailed and called as per our last ‘call for action’. BUT …
…as a result of a peculiarity in the way Government works, the motion to call native forest furnace electricity ‘renewable energy’, has been sneakily placed on the 'non-controversial' list. That means that unless the Labor Government decides to force a vote, within days this back-door change in renewable energy policy could sneak through Parliament without there even being a vote!
Your local Labor MP has the power to lobby their peers to prioritise this vote before it's too late. We can't let this go through without a democratic vote. Can you contact your local MP and urge them to make sure this is the number 1 issue in Parliament when it returns on Monday? Get-Up is calling on all Australian’s to get cracking on this – before our forests get thrown into power furnaces, as renewable energy! and with financial credits to boot!
Window of two days only - Parliament votes on Monday
We've got just 2 days to make sure the government prioritises this issue and brings it on for a vote first thing Monday. Please – can you contact your Labor MP or Senator now to ask them if they’ll stand up for our forests? Click here to find your local pollie.
Last year, the Greens, Independents and Labor passed the climate agreement with the Greens’ critical provision - to make sure that burning native-forests in power plants won’t be classified as renewable energy. The logging industry has been lobbying Oakeshott hard to reverse this provision. If this is allowed to go through – our remaining forests will disappear into the atmosphere as carbon pollution, and the regrowth as well - for decades to come. This one is super critical ! Please help if you can.
Responding to a press release about global problems of illegal logging, Australian forest activist, Jill Redwood says, "This illegal logging is not just limited to developing countries or where there are corrupt regimes - it is happening right now in Australia and has been for the past 50 years." The press release came from a volunteering organisation, Projects Abroad, better known for foreign aid projects which young people pay to participate in. It seems to be advertising for volunteers to join a project in Taricaya in South America where it claims to own 476 hectares of Amazon rainforest, where it is running, among other activities, a 'pilot farm', which doesn't sound too good. Projects abroad press release also seems to indicate faith in forest preservation policies marketed by the World Bank and Interpol. Environmentalists tend to see the World Bank as a driver of deforestation. And then there is the question of 'volunteering'...
What comes across the candobetter.net editorial desk
It is interesting to see what comes across the candobetter editorial desk - which is a very informal virtual piece of furniture with multiple occupants. Like any newspaper, we get press releases from all over the world. They are targeted according to the way that candobetter is perceived by the agencies that redistribute press releases. This one, about Projects Abroad, took a while to unravel. Projects Abroad does not sound like your typical conservation activist organisation. It looks more like a business organisation out to make money from peoples' interests and concerns about poverty and their desire for adventure. It wasn't conveying any real news, since it was only restating information that has already been carried in the mass media. This information, however, relates to forest conservation, which is of interest to candobetter.net. On the other hand, candobetter.net tends to cast a jaundiced eye on foreign aid organisations, because of their reputation of being Fagins. (Fagin was the Dickens character who trained destitute little boys to thieve for him.) So we also had a look at Projects Abroad. Hence the rather long title of this article.
The facts below came in the press release from Projects Abroad. They originated at ‘Chainsaw’ [.pdf file], a joint World Bank and Interpol project of interest which probably won't get much support from the World Bank, we dare say:
What is happening to the world's forests
Between 20% and 50% of all timber sold worldwide has been illegally sourced
For many years the volume of timber taken from rainforests by far out-strips the rate of planting
When this is allied to illegal logging, worldwide deforestation will reach crisis point – beyond which restoration will be extremely difficult – at some time this year.
The average rotation of planting timber is only between 30 and 40 years which is not long enough for the trees to produce the volume of wood necessary to satisfy worldwide requirements. This inevitably leads to continuing illegal ingress into the primary forest.
‘Chainsaw’ [.pdf file] – a joint project between the World Bank and Interpol – reported last year that an area of the world’s rainforest the size of Austria was illegally felled every twelve months. (See below, "The Chainsaw project," for an informative extract commenting on possibilities and difficulties policing illegal logging and trafficking of logs.)
The only way forward [according to the World Bank] is through much stiffer timber security and for affluent western countries to pay emerging nations to preserve their forests - probably under a scheme called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD).
[So what do we do about a country like Australia, when, although it is not deemed 'an emerging nation', it is illegally felling or unwisely felling its remaining forests, both public and private?]
Deforestation accounts for very nearly a quarter of all the greenhouse gasses created by human activity each year.
Jill Redwood: "Shocking but not at all surprising!"
Responding to the statements above, Australian forest activist, Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland, wrote,
"My response would be to say that this illegal logging is not just limited to developing countries or where there are corrupt regimes - it is happening right now in Australia and has been for the past 50 years. Our forest agencies and the government protection they receive is simply more sophisticated, with public relations firms, spin doctors and compliant regulatory schemes that overlook and excuse the illegal nature of forest destruction in Australia. Court cases from Tasmania and Gippsland, launched by environment groups and individuals have shown that logging is being carried out against the laws we have to protect endangered wildlife. Audits have shown for years that rainforest is logged illegally, environmental codes are breached on a daily basis and nothing is done besides government media stating how logging management is improving every year.
We are converting old growth primary forests into industrial pulpwood tree crops over public land at great public expense and losing our rare wildlife as well. Not much difference to Indonesia or Borneo really. Our governments are just better at hiding that fact."
Not only is Australia devastating its own forests, but you can also import illegally taken logs through the holes in our importing regulations. Professor William Laurance is trying to alert Australians to the risk of buying wood furniture made in China because of the high risk that it is made from wood harvested illegally in Africa, South America, Asia or Papua New Guinea. Source: "Call for tighter laws to halt illegal timber imports," Canberra Times, February 6, 2012
Who are Projects Abroad?
The press release sent to candobetter.net quoting Dr Peter Slowe quoting the Chainsaw Report also informs us that "Volunteers visiting Project Abroad’s Taricaya project are given the opportunity to take part in important research work and biodiversity studies into all types of flora and fauna. Taricaya has South America’s highest canopy walkway, a freshwater turtle project, and a pilot farm." What sort of a farm, one wonders, in the middle of the rainforest? Don't the indigenous people already know how to preserve the rainforest? Reports from any Projects Abroad volunteers on this farm and the situation surrounding it would be interesting, but we have none to hand.
Projects Abroad also tells us that "Projects Abroad has sent more than 41,000 volunteers to 27 different countries since its inception in 1992. Last year, they sent around 8,000 volunteers on projects and are predicting an increase of at least 10% this year."
Whilst appreciating the news-feed on this vital issue, we wonder why this organisation relies so much on volunteers and what it spends its funds on. It is hard to trust an organisation which markets itself through its founder's early connections with the UK Blair Government.
For these reasons we tried to check out Projects Abroad. We discovered that Projects Abroad fits the 'foreign aid' category that is so abused by entrepreneurs, governments, outsourcers and exporters. We found a Projects Abroad website which had a page responding to accusations that Projects Abroad was a volunteering scam.
We also found this very interesting page, which contained the following reports from past Projects Abroad volunteers.
Projects Abroad Complaints and Reviews - Abusing poverty to gain income
After visiting Arusha in Tanzania to visit local projects, such as schools and orphanages, I visited one specific orphanage where it became clear to me that Projects Abroad, an UK based organization (say Company), sends volunteers there to help at the home and school and stay with local host families. Great I would think first, but when I started talking to the 'volunteers' who came from the USA and the UK it became clear they pay 1500 USD per month to work in an orphanage and NONE of this money goes to the project. A host family with food will not cost more then 250 USD and sure some money needs to go the the organizing party, but so much money and NOTHING goes to those in need; orphans, children who need education and have no food...I am shocked but also appalled that this 'organization' is nothing more then making money over the backs of poor people. Shame on you...the name of Herman was mentioned several times as it seems this character works for these greedy people in Arusha. BE AWARE for these companies, look around on the web, there are plenty of smaller organizations that charge much less and that support the projects they work with!
I also agree Projects Abroad is not a well run organization, that likely is not spending money where it is most needed. I also don't agree with having so many different types of projects at a location that they are unable to focus on the needs of any. It's possible they do better work in certain projects, such as care (working in orphanages) but my experience with a medical project was poor and I wouldn't recommend this organization for medical work.
I am a physical therapist from the US and I went to Bolivia to work in a pediatric burn unit through Projects Abroad. The staff was friendly, but otherwise very unorganized and gave me no guidance whatsoever as to prior volunteer experiences in the burn unit, so I was thrown into my job with very minimal information about the needs at the burn unit. I would have been ok with this if it was a new 'project', except, after returning to the office frequently with questions about any information from prior volunteers, I was finally handed a binder that had some brief essays prior volunteers had written about their work in the burn unit. Only a handful of physios had been there before and I found some notes their supervisor had written, but no essays. I only found essays from the med students and nurses who had been there before. Maybe they hadn't written an essay? It's possibly, but after my experience I have to wonder if they accidently 'lost' them. Regardless of my lack of information, and no prior experience myself working in a burn unit, I threw myself into my work and made a place for myself at the burn unit. I worked very hard at talking to various supervising people at the hospital to learn the politics there- who to know to really get things done...etc... My Spanish significantly improved, and I learned a lot about what they need there. Unfortunately, four months was a good amount of time to get enough information to start developing a real 'project' at the burn unit. But with my continued visits to the office to try to discuss my need to communicate with a future volunteer so we can continue a project I was told I was not allowed to get their email (I was told a nurse was coming the month after I was leaving). I did write a very long essay before I left describing what I learned, and pleaded with them to send me the email of any new volunteers that come to the burn unit. It's been 7 months since I left, and have not heard a single word from the staff.
There is also no transparency as to where the money goes. I don't want to blame the office staff though, they all seem to have no clue either- the money management all happens in the UK they say. I was told if could get maybe 25-50 US dollars worth of materials for the burn unit per month within their budget, but wasn't told this until my second month in, and only because I was incessant in my questioning of the staff about where the money goes. I was told if we wanted to spend any more money than that, we had to fill out a form, and request it from the UK and that could take months (I would be gone by that time and had no faith in trusting the staff to spend that money appropriately and no ability to communicate with a future volunteer) Again I really had to poke around just to get that bit of information. I believe only 150US went to my host family, from what I learned from the family, so I am in agreement that very little goes to the actual 'project', considering I spent over 1000US per month to be there.
But my biggest frustration with projects abroad is that there is no way they can sustain a 'project' if they don't allow volunteers to communicate with one another. I did enjoy the work I did in Bolivia, lived with a fabulous host family, and intend to return to Bolivia this year to maintain my contacts with the staff in the burn unit, and PT students that I worked with. BUT there is not way I would give one more penny to Projects Abroad- I will be able to get there on my own and don't need any 'help' from a volunteer organization that gave me much more frustration than assistance.
I agree! I just spent $2, 400 to volunteer in an orphanage in Jamaica. When I got there we were told by the orphange staff members that there was no need for more volunteers. Of course Projects Abroad said there was still a need because I was realized this is a company out for a profit. Jamaica can not handle many volunteers, yet they are still priding themselves on how many volunteers arrive as opposed to the actual impact they have at the volunteer sites. I feel that I was taken advantage of by this program!
I don't understand these complains. Projects-abroad is a pure profit company: they sell poverty and solidarity. Their customers paid for that: they want to be volunteer, to live an adventure but "all-included" and something well organized...
Their job is to make money, don't complain that they don't give enough to hospital or the hosting families, they are not a charity organization ...
If you really want to be volunteer, join a non profit volunteer organization. Maybe their web site will be not so nice, but at least they know what a volunteer project is... and it will cost you more or less nothing...
check for ex: www.servicevolontaire.org, www.vap.uk, www.afs.org, www.sjvietnam.org, www.javva.org, ...
Thanks for the tip, I wish I had known everything you just said before I went though. That's why I'm upset, the website makes it look like it IS a charity organization (call me stupid but I thought it was a non profit before I went), and takes advantage of people like me (there are many others I met while I was there who thought the same) who are naive. We felt cheated and used- but yes, it was because we were uninformed going into it. Also the 'well organized' part is totally false, at least for the program I went on. For a for-profit company, and the money we pay, they could do a much better job at organizing the projects themselves. They have so many projects going, they don't know which way is up or down with most of them. Half of my frustration in Bolivia was that I was trying to help Projects Abroad Bolivia itself (not just the burn unit) become more organized and get some basic communication going between subsequent volunteers, and wasn't getting support or interest by the local staff in my efforts.
I went on this website, not to just whine about the program- I understand the mistake I made when choosing a program, and I want to help others make better decisions. Thanks also for posting the links.
FYI I did go back to Bolivia for a month on my own, did the same work I had done before, and had a much more satisfying experience! It's just heartbreaking to see that they really need help there, and I know Projects Abroad is not going to start anything sustainable there- it would be up to me or someone else to work on that...
Absolutely have to agree with above comments. Went to Nepal last year as a fully qualified physician with some physician colleagues - at the time of application the website suggested we would be working with the poor and would be provided with translators (so we could be somewhat effective). In the end our complaints are too numerous to count but we met with many of the heads of Projects Abroad in Nepal who were all very wealthy and connected. We were never able to provide any useful medical treatment because no one was able to translate for us except for the local doctors who frankly couldn't understand why we were there. (Side note: volunteer surgeons have gone to Nepal to help train local surgeons in modern techniques but these skills get abused as surgeons find any excuse to take gallbladders out of patients who are simply constipated.)
Our greatest beef with this company was that we thought the hefty sums we paid went towards a decent needs-assessment. We were given the impression that they sent trained volunteers to areas that have expressed a need for help. And we were told we would have translation on the field with the possibility of outreach programs, none of which actually happened.
Total fraud. We gave the organizers very thorough feedback and they assured us they were going to pull the PRO portion of the Nepal wing of Projects Abroad. Just checked today and it's definitely not the case.
[End of comments]
The Chainsaw project
1.16 Problems regarding the legality of illegal timber trafficking In order for any law enforcement officer to undertake investigations they must first be satisfied a crime has occurred. When considering crimes of violence, and other crimes against the person, or drug or weapon trafficking, the answer as to whether a crime has occurred would appear to be obvious. The same cannot be said when considering international trade in primary products; fish, animals, and plants, including illegal timber.
The legality of unlawfully logged timber at any given time in its journey from the forests to the end user will be largely determined by time and space. The question; what is the national law that relates to the product, can often depend on where it currently geographically is, and at what time it is there?
The reasons for this and the difficulty faced by law enforcement agencies in investigating this crime type are:
- Timber is not an illegal product per se. Its possession, trade, or transportation may not constitute a crime as such, unlike drugs or child pornography. At border controls or customs check points, the law enforcement authorities must be able to prove the timber’s illegality to take any further action. It can, in many cases, become difficult or impossible to state whether the origin of the timber is legal or illegal. The illegality is all the more difficult to assess when the timber has been processed into finished manufactured products, which is often the form in which illegal timbe arrives at the country of importation.
- In itself, illegal logging constitutes a local crime that falls under national legislations. It is then a crime which is very difficult to prosecute “up to destination” since it does not imply the infringement of the laws or regulations of the countries that import and consume the timber or the countries in which the timber is in transit.
Illegal logging becomes relevant to international law enforcement only once the timber has left, or is in the process of leaving, the country in which it was cut.
Consequently, illegal logging must not become dissociated from the problem of illegal timber trafficking which is not as difficult to prove and prosecute.
- Timber traders can be subject to sanctions or prosecution for illegal timbe trafficking only on the condition that the timber traded is a species protected unde national laws or under CITES. This trade is regulated with a system of certificates and needs to fulfil specific conditions to be declared legal. It is often only in countries where the mechanisms of control and certification are codified in national legislations, such as in the EU, that the possibility of prosecuting the timber traders exists.
- The legality or illegality of the timber depends on the legislation of the country where the goods are located, not on the legality or illegality of the upstream process.
A piece of wood can originate from illegally logged timber and yet be sold with complete legality in another country. Therefore, the international characteristics of illegal logging raises two questions: Determining the country where the prosecution should take place, and determining the legislation under which the crime falls. In general, criminals are prosecuted in the country where the crime was committed and the legislation of that country is applied.
VicForests argued on Tues – day 2, that the economic case for continuing the logging of endangered species’ habitat outweighs the precautionary principle. In effect, they are saying, jobs are more important than species and ecosystems. The anticipated costs of the case have ballooned due to the necessity to respond to VicForests’ economics argument and other unexpected costs including increased transcript costs because VicForests have requested real time electronic recording of witnesses. Of course, they have access to government funding.
New environmental case could save 162 coupes
On Monday, 6th February, one of the most significant court case ever undertaken on the conservation of Victoria’s threatened fauna commenced in the Supreme Court. The case is testing whether the logging operations of VicForests are in compliance with state laws, focusing on three coupes in Toolangi State Forest, around 80 kms. north-east of Melbourne.
However, VicForests argued on Tues – day 2, that the economic case for continuing the logging of endangered species’ habitat outweighs the precautionary principle. In effect, they are saying, jobs are more important than species and ecosystems.
VicForests have stated that if they can't log these three coupes, then they can't log 162 coupes in the Central Highlands Ash forests - And thousands of jobs will be lost, 150 fire fighters gone and millions of dollars lost to the state. They have threatened that if the precautionary principle is to be applied that it will shut down the industry.
These forests and their animals survived Black Saturday
After Black Saturday and decades of industrial logging, the unburned remnant Ash forests now contain what is left of Melbourne’s water supply and the last viable population of the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum (along with a host of other threatened flora and fauna). MyEnvironment has engaged two expert witnesses of unimpeachable authority, Dr Judith Ajani on the economics and Professor David Lindenmayer on the ecological values of our forests.
VicForests balloon court costs with gov funding - environmentalists seek equity
The anticipated costs of the case have ballooned due to the necessity to respond to VicForests’ economics argument and other unexpected costs including increased transcript costs because VicForests have requested real time electronic recording of witnesses. Of course, they have access to government funding.
The Federal Minister for the Environment Tony Burke is engaged (on some level). MyEnvironment Inc. has requested federal assistance as the case fits squarely in its portfolio of responsibility.
The following information may help you understand the case and why it is so significant:
Leadbeater’s Possums are Victoria's faunal emblem and considered 'canary in the coal mine' species for biodiversity in Victoria’s forest water catchments. If they are tipped into extinction, it means other forest species are also tipping. This case seeks to prevent this.
The forest age class that supports hollow dependant wildlife, is the same forest that provides, and releases, massive amounts of clean drinking and irrigation water for urban and rural users. Replacing this forest with young, rapidly growing plantations would greatly reduce water production and provide no habitat for hollow-dependent species.
Protecting Melbourne's water catchment
Melbourne’s water was the subject of a 2003 World Bank and WWF report advising against further logging yet logging in water catchments continues. The government’s own studies recommended ending catchment logging by 2009 to improve water supply to Melbourne’s growing population.
Science has recognised that the world’s greatest trees are being lost to disease, climate and drought. In Victoria, we will not have any old growth Ash forests left by 2065 due to industrial logging and fires (Victorian images here). Only around 1% of the old-growth Mountain Ash forest remains in these mountains today.
VicForests already demonstrated lack of respect for law
FSC certification was removed from products coming from these forests because VicForests failed to demonstrate compliance with the principles of biodiversity management.
VicForests industry relies on funding from your taxes
The primary recipient of wood from the Central Highlands is Japanese multi-national paper producer Nippon Paper Ltd. According to the 2010 URS Treasury report, Nippon does not pay full costs of production so tax-payers are subsidising the wood stream.
Victoria has legislated to guarantee wood to Nippon so the state government, in a bid to access new resources, are now planning to log parks, water catchments and special protection zones to fulfill the contract.
Breech of Federal laws and United Nations agreements
The message being sent to other countries is that it's acceptable to log reserves. In effect, Victoria is in breach of both Federal laws and United Nations agreements.
The end of native forest logging in Victoria would also hasten the collapse of Gunns’ Tasmanian Pulp mill. The Heyfield Mill sale by Gunns will supply funds to support the Pulp Mill proposal. If Victorian Ash forests cannot be logged, Heyfield will not be commercial and Gunns will be forced to liquidate it. (we have heard that the Mill sale has fallen through and Gunns may have suspended trading because of this)
Economics is a subset of Environment, not the other way round
Vicforests argue that they should be allowed to log habitat to keep the industry alive while Scott Gentle ex-CEO Victorian Forestry Contractors Association says the industry is a basket case. The haulers say "it could be better run by a kindergarten" and contractors like Mick McKinnell say that the transition to plantations is inevitable. 7.30 ABC Report
Baylieu Government proposes increased support for archaic and destructive industry
Whilst resource mapping shows that little is left outside special protection zones and buffer strips containing endangered species, the Baillieu/Ryan government is proposing 20 year contracts to guarantee industry stability and underwrite VicForests when commitments can no longer be met. These contracts will need to be paid out when the resource is exhausted so it's a quick return for opportunistic investors.
In contravention of our own national competition economics policies
This is total mismanagement in contravention of national competition policy under which a government business enterprise must not be given any commercial advantage. A story from The Age on the state of the industry can be seen at the link.
David and Goliath: VicForests have access to millions of taxpayer dollars and a team of 7 lawyers in court - we have 3.
We are just a small group of volunteers with a first-hand understanding of the issues, dedication and determination to save what remains after the Black Saturday bushfires. Over the last decade we have witnessed massive destruction of critical ecosystems and we need to tell our story.
A chance to end native forest logging in Victoria!
VicForests are saying that if the judge awards in our favour, this case will end native forest logging in Victoria. Please push this out to your friends and members. We have to raise three times more than we have. Donate here Please. The flow on effect of this case is already being measured in Gunns' business and will affect East Gippsland's forest too.
A very serious threat has emerged since Valentine's Day! And Fed Parliament is voting on the motion today! If Oakeshott's proposal gets up, the forest furnaces poised for building in several states would become a driving force for decades more destruction of Australian forests, woodlands and wildlife. It would be the same type of unstoppable destruction that the export woodchip industry has caused since the 1970s. There will be no let up in demand for electricity once this insanity is allowed.
Independent, Rob Oakeshott is planning to revisit his agreement last year to prevent the burning of native forests ('waste' or not) to be classed as 'renewable energy' and so making it eligible for financial help via Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
Tony Windsor, independent MP, has indicated that he has not yet taken a position on Oakeshott's forest furnace motion. Please ask he carefully considers his position, as his one vote could cause an avalanche of forest destruction for years to come.
These below are worth contacting with a polite short email - especially if you happen to be in their electorate, or maybe pass this on if you know friends who are.
The Carbon Package Agreement went through last year thanks to the Greens insistence - and it has been a major spanner in the plans of the logging industry to build forest furnaces for electricity (to take over where the export woodchip markets are failing). Without RECs they are less financially viable.
If Oakeshott's proposal gets up, the forest furnaces poised for building in several states would become a driving force for decades more destruction of Australian forests, woodlands and wildlife. It would be the same type of unstoppable destruction that the export woodchip industry has caused since the 1970s. There will be no let up in demand for electricity once this insanity is allowed.
Environment East Gippsland
Locked Bag 3
ph (03) 5154 0145
We were successful today! In fact even more so than we expected. The injunction phase was skipped and we’re going straight to trial now. It’ll be heard in April rather than Sept/Oct. as we were planning. This has to be good for us and the forests. This article has been retitled from "Injunction to stop logging of Cobb Hill rainforest Site." The teaser then was, "If this application is successful, it will be the third time VicForests will face the courts to be sued by a community group for what is believed to be illegal logging of protected areas of public forest."
We were successful today! In fact even more so that we expected. The injunction phase was skipped and we’re going straight to trial now. It’ll be heard in April rather than Sept/Oct. as we were planning. This has to be good for us and the forests.
I imagine VicForests will not be very happy chappies. They opposed this speedy trial as proposed by His Honour Justice Jack Forrest. And they lost. The next round will be very interesting.
We’ll let you know when we have exact dates.
By the way – we still need dollars for this. If you can help – here’s an easy safe method to help us ... http://www.givenow.com.au/environmenteastgippsland
PS VicForests has given an undertaking not to log this area until the trial is heard.
Environment East Gippsland
Locked Bag 3
ORBOST Vic 3888
(03) 5154 0145
EAST GIPPSLAND - OUR BREATHING SPACE
Earlier post regarding an application for an injunction
When: 12 noon, Monday 30th January.
Where: Court 10, Melbourne Supreme Court.
Other: If this application is successful, it will be the third time VicForests will face the courts to be sued by a community group for what is believed to be illegal logging of protected areas of public forest.
VicForests gave an undertaking not to log this site until the application for an injunction could be heard. His Honour Justice Forrest is hearing our interlocutory injunction application on Monday. Justice Jack Forrest granted the interlocutory injunction in the Brown Mountain case in 2009.
For comment or updates after the application is heard: Liz Ingham 0409 333 595
Environment East Gippsland
Locked Bag 3
ORBOST Vic 3888
On the northern coast of N.S.W. adjoining the Gold Coast and S.E.Queensland lies Tweed Shire, christened as the Green Caldera by once Environment Minister Peter Garrett. This area is famous for one of the highest biodiversity levels in Australia and infamous for the greatest level of biodiversity loss in N.S.W. thanks to the fact that the vast majority of Tweed councillors are pro-development. But in the case of Kings Forest, a massive housing development for 15,000 people worth $2 billion, NSW State Planning took control under the massively unpopular Part 3a legislation, depriving the council of all controls.
If this development is approved, it will be goodbye koalas on Tweed coast within 5-10 years. HAVE YOUR SAY!!
Kings Forest development plan includes 4500 housing lots, a golf course, two primary schools, and shopping facilities, and will occupy a large area between Kingscliff and Cabarita with a single entrance along Tweed Coast Road.
The social impacts of this development are huge. Just what will life look like with another 15,000 or so people driving around, looking for parking, jobs, needing infrastructure like hospitals, schools, libraries? Who will pay for the infrastructure - ratepayers?
While it is commonly believed by local businessmen that this will be good for business, the truth is that an increase in population may not automatically create employment, because most of the jobs created will be short term construction jobs and at the same time there will be an increase in job seekers.
(photo: Cudgen Nature Reserve)
There are many environmental impacts of this development, especially the risk to the remaining population of 144 Tweed Coast koalas, placing the population at high risk of localised extinction. Also at risk are 21 Threatened Species of fauna including the Wallum Froglet, Wallum Sedge frog, Grass Owl, Bush Stone Curlew and Long-Nosed Potoroo, 6 species of flora and 3 endangered ecological communities.
Many changes will be needed to protect adjacent Cudgen Nature Reserve and State Significant Cudgen Lake, which could well be at risk. The developer should dedicate land to the Nature Reserve ahead of the development so that the flora and fauna can be protected from the bulk earthworks. Bulk earthworks will move 1 million cubic meters to flatten out the site for housing. The development application has not indicated when the land will become reserve, it may happen after it has already been seriously disturbed. Fencing of the nature reserve should also happen ahead of the development to protect fauna that try to move through the development. The fencing should be of a different specification to what is proposed by the developer - it needs to be floppy top cyclone fencing, or the koalas will climb over it.
Friends of the Cudgen Nature Reserve is concerned about the water course to Cudgen Lake, and also the drainage pattern which appears to using Blacks Creek as the major channel to drain KF which then goes through the nature reserve. Unless certain extra measures aren’t taken, this development will threaten the viability of the nature reserve, a jewel in the Tweed Coast.
In addition to Section 94 contributions, there should be an environmental maintenance fund established by the developer because a lot of the environmental measures they propose have no monitoring, feedback or evaluation. It's not realistic to assume people are going to move in with their dogs and just obey a few signs.
Kings Forest has confusion and conflicting development application information. It has almost no Ecologically Sustainable Development 'footprints' concerning the future wellbeing of the people who currently live and work on the Tweed Coast. The demonstrated community consultation and awareness about this development is completely lacking. The owner and developer of Kings Forest is not even a Tweed Shire resident, who has cleared and mismanaged valuable ecological wetland areas, native wildlife habitats and altered catchment profiles of Tweed coastal land. There has been no invitation to qualified individuals with excellent local knowledge who could help the developer and workers on the property manage it in a sensible ecologically sustainable framework.
There should at least be a moratorium placed on this development by the NSW and Federal governments until issues of past rezoning processes, past and current land and water management issues and illegal clearing of valuable ecological habitat are resolved. It is up to the NSW State and Federal governments to actively pursue these questionable issues.
Many in the community are voicing an urgent need for remedy to the current mismanagement of this development and to the development's processes which needs to be addressed before further works continue on the site. The habitat and ecological damage that has already occurred could take decades to repair, some may never be repaired, if the development goes ahead as per current planning documents. Nor does there appear to be any documented environmental benchmarks attached to the past and current development process by which environmental accountability can be assessed.
The cost of this urgent remedy should be borne by the developer, not Tweed shire community. The valuable community environmental volunteers who have been serving the Tweed coast for many years appear to have been very poorly treated by the regime that is Kings Forest Part 3a development.
On 11th December, approximately 70 protesters assembled peacefully to protest against Kings Forest. The developer had their own rent-a-crowd comprised of employees (most of whom had Queensland number plates) and their kids, all holding virtually identical (mostly professionally printed) placards saying 'WE WANT JOBS, WE WANT HOSPITALS, WE WANT A FUTURE'. Some protesters overheard Leda's manager Reg van Rij say to one of them "You are not supposed to know me." The rent-a-crowd protesting our protest began by rudely placing their signs over ours. Apart from this flagrantly defiant act, and a few wheelies near our information tent, there was no trouble. Some conversation between their head protester and us revealed that they honestly believed that all the threatened species should be just moved out and put in a sanctuary somewhere. When one of our protesters commented that there had been illegal clearing at Blacks' Creek, they all looked sheepishly to the ground and said nothing. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nvbCBw06OrM
(photo: Protest at entrance to Kings Forest site)
The deadline for submissions on Kings Forest development Stage 1, bulk earthworks, Koala Plan of Management and first lot of subdivisions is January 25th. Your comment can be emailed to [email protected]
For suggestions in making a submission, however short,
and for more information on Kings Forest, go to http://bluecray.org
or view the project application at majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=2642
POEM by Mark Comport
Our home, the valley of contrasts, the beautiful Tweed
We all take a piece of her while she silently bleeds
She bleeds overdevelopment, loss of habitat, erosion, roadkill
We’re taking too much, we’re making her ill
To move more of us in, more of her has to go
Mother nature is dying … dying slow
We argue over who was here first or who could care for her best
While we are, she’s being raped and robbed – we’ll fight for what’s left.
As of 24 January, Tweed Shire councillors recommend that Dept of Planning allow dogs at Kings Forest.
Please, please follow the recommendations of Jill Redwood and Environment East Gippsland. All of the incredible battles won, rare animals and precious forests will be trashed unless we prevent this new legislation.
Please act ASAP.
This is an interim email while we prepare an East Gippsland forest update.
Most would recall that the Baillieu government, in response to our 2010 court win for Brown Mountain, is set to alter the laws governing protection of rare wildlife. It would allow logging to go ahead regardless of what is found there. We suspect they have their sights set on clearfelling Brown Mountain when this is passed – as pay-back.
For those who can, we are asking people to send comments (submissions) into the DSE opposing this plan in the strongest terms possible. Deadline is close of business on Wednesday 1st Feb. But please don’t put this aside. The sooner the better.
The story in brief:
Our Sept 2010 Brown Mountain Supreme Court win for endangered wildlife has upset the new Baillieu Coalition government - so they are going to change the laws that says they must be protected.
To start with, they are set to change a few words in the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2007 (see below).This Code is a ‘loggers environmental rule book’ of sorts and is part of the legal regime that is meant to ‘protect’ our forests while they are being clearfelled yeah ... I know).
The proposed change will take out ‘must do’ protection for threatened species and their habitat. It will allow the DSE Secretary to approve any and all forests planned for logging regardless of whether endangered wildlife live there. This lacks any transparency or accountability. It basically overrides the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act’s individual Action Statements for species protection.
They are knowingly and deliberately rendering useless, the only part out of the FFG Act that logging had to adhere to (especially since our court win). Quolls, Potoroos, the large owls and gliders would all have their home ranges or large parts of it wiped off the map if the logging industry says it must log those forests. And of course it will.
As part of the protocol for changing these rules, the government has to ask us, the public, what we think.
This is their main planned change:
“Forest management planning and all forestry operations must comply with measures specified in relevant Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Action Statements (unless determined by the Secretary that the requirements of an Action Statement do not apply) and any Flora and Fauna Guarantee Orders."
If you can let them know what you think about all this, below are some dot points that might give you some ideas to pad out and reword in any order or way you want – and as few or as many points as you want to use.
Please help deluge the government. Don’t forget. Bung it in your desk or computer’s diary or better still do it now. Let’s see if we can hit them with at least a hundred letters/emails. Five hundred would be even better!
1. This further weakens Victoria’s already weak legal framework for biodiversity protection.
2. Can’t claim wildlife is well protected elsewhere without first doing multiple and thorough surveys in every reserved forest in the state and in every season.
3. The FFGA listed species has already had a scientific committee assess the status and needs of each species. It was agreed that these animals are in danger of disappearing, hence their Action Statement. The secretary must not override these scientific findings.
4. Victoria’s forest dependent threatened wildlife like Quolls and those that need hollow trees are in serious decline mostly due to logging.
5. The past decade of fires has added to Victoria’s forest wildlife’s serious decline .
6. Simply assuming that wildlife can ‘survive and flourish’ (to quote the FFGA) inside the small disjointed reserves is being irresponsible and unscientific.
7. Parks and reserves have historically been declared in areas deemed unnecessary for development or resource extraction, or are of low quality for other uses. This does not always provide the prime habitat needed for many rare species such as gliders and owls.
8. Habitat modelling is not a fool-proof way to protect rare wildlife. They can be found in unpredictable habitats and not found in seemingly suitable areas.
9. There is a very real possibility of wildlife being made extinct in Victoria due to ongoing habitat destruction.
This will have Ted Baillieu’s name on it.
10. There is no credibility in the claim of ‘balancing’ the needs of logging industry and environment. It has been balanced in favour of logging for the past 40 years.
11. Looking after species at a “landscape level” is also rubbish. The species are listed as needing protection for the very reason that they no longer occur “at a landscape level” but in small often isolated patches.
12. The exemption of the logging industry from the FFGA, via the Code is outrageous.
13. The fact that the secretary is unaccountable to anyone in this decision is an outrage. He MUST consult with experts, notify the public of a decision and give reasons and evidence he used. His decisions MUST be able to be scrutinised, reviewed and challenged. To cut out this basic tool of democracy to aid one industry is another outrage.
14. Every forest stand which supports a listed species MUST be left intact and not clearfelled and burnt by VicForests.
15. Baillieu promised his government would restore integrity, transparency and accountability. Let’s see it.
Environment East Gippsland
The 8th of November 2011 in New Caledonia marked the launching of a new program, called, "One tree, one day, One life" at the 7th Conference of the Pacific Community. Deforestation is the hallmark of colonisation in the South Pacific as everywhere. In small islands, deforestation can make the difference between an inhabitable and an uninhabitable island in terms of rainfall. A joint declaration to participate in a program where every island inhabitant in every participating island in the Pacific will plant a tree every year has already been signed by the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia as of the last SPREP summit in Apia in July 2011.
(What do Australia and New Caledonia have in common? See end of article for the answers.)
Pacific Islands get together to plant trees
The 8th of November 2011 in New Caledonia marked the launching of a new wider Pacific Island program, called, "One tree, one day, One life."
The idea is for each island inhabitant to plant one tree every year.
Anthony Lecren, New Caledonia government member for the economy, trade and sustainable development presided over the launch at the global warming and sustainable development summit at the 7th Conference of the Pacific Community in Noumea preparing for the RIO+20 Summit.
He urged Pacific island countries and territories to unite around a common project in order to make Oceania heard at the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012. He was joined by Samoan Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, who said, "We will not be the last to react."
Deforestation of Pacific Islands
The Pacific islands are home to some 10 million people and constitute one-third of the world's maritime exclusive economic zone, with its natural riches and biodiversity still relatively intact compared to those of Europe. They represent an invaluable treasure for our planet. The ecology of these islands is, however, damaged and consequently fragile. Climate change is expected to add to their vulnerability.
Deforestation is the hallmark of colonisation in the South Pacific as everywhere. In small islands, deforestation can make the difference between an inhabitable and an uninhabitable island in terms of rainfall. An extreme case is Nauru. Once perhaps the richest and most beautiful of all islands in this area, it was mined into a desert for the its guano phospate reserves, which had been deposited over millenia by a rich population of migratory birds. As the forest disappeared, then the soil, tragically the rain stopped falling. Now the few locals that remain rely on water imported from Australia (itself the driest inhabited continent on earth), and the human population there, once tall and powerful in the region, is now exceptionately unhealthy.
Nickel mining in New Caledonia
New Caledonia has also been deeply scarred by mining, not for guano-phosphates, but for nickel. The scars are both ecological and social, for nickel-mining meant that there was always a well-paid temporary immigrant strata with power on the island, able to call political shots, running the principle employment sector and massively changing the shape of the land and its use to the great disadvantage of the indigenous inhabitants who were largely deprived of their self-sufficient economic choices.
"Wide-scale mining started in 1875 in Houaïlou and Canala communes. Early mining was done by hand and then gradually became mechanised. By beginning of the 20th century two large mines at Bourai and Thio were established. In the initial years, after nickel was discovered mining was done in about 330 mines. However in 1981 there were only 30 functional mines as against 130 in the early 1970s.  Because of the remote location of the islands, about half of the ore was smelted locally, despite the underdeveloped industrial infrastructure of New Caledonia.
The production of ore was nearly constant between 1875 and 1948, but then increased about 70 times reaching a peak of about 8 million tonnes in 1971. This rise followed by a decline, to about 4 million tonnes of ore in 1981, due to cyclones, reducing demand for the metal and increasing role of other world producers, such as Indonesia, Philippines and Australia. Correspondingly, the mined area decreased from 21,500–8,700 hectares (53,000–21,000 acres) and the number of people employed in the industry from about 6,200 to about 3,600. Nearly half of them worked at the mines and another half at the major Doniambo processing plant near Noumea." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel_mining_in_New_Caledonia
Joint declaration on climate change, biodiversity, economic diversity
A joint declaration pertaining to the "one tree, one day, a life" initiative for the Pacific region will be signed by those countries wishing to participate in the program, which now includes the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Tokelau, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia as of the last SPREP summit in Apia in July 2011.
The joint declaration comes from awareness both of the international responsibilities in ensuring the preservation of the insular biodiversity of the Pacific region in a context of climate change and of the difficulties facing each of the governments in making their voices heard at international level in matters of the environment and sustainable development.
The initiative aims to harmonize the sustainable development policies and actions of the countries, governments and territories of the Pacific in accordance with the institutional framework recommended by Rio+20 and to make it the environmental and sustainable development platform for the territories of the Pacific at the Rio+20 Summit.
South Pacific islands have suffered from very unbalanced economies since colonisation and this program seeks to contributing to a diversification of the economies of the South Pacific and, in particular, the development of the "green economy."
This article is the result of press communications resulting from the conference with the hope of producing "factual communication with an international reach."
"One tree, one day, one life"
The project unveiled by Anthony Lecren consists in planting one tree each year by New Caledonia's 250,000 inhabitants. That is equivalent to 250,000 trees planted per year over a period of at least 10 years. The program has also been designed to promote economic spin-offs, develop activity in rural areas and ensure livelihoods for those populations all the while contributing to restoring the "human-nature" link.
This project draws on the support of over 10 years of knowledge and experience in terms of existing research and development in New Caledonia and enables consolidation of a number of different projects by their size, geographic scope and economy.
Because New Caledonia suffered by mining, it also has long experience of the problem of reforestation and skilled scientific personnel, organisations and companies to carry this out. New Caledonia hopes to gain more visibility for these specialists in the wider Pacific community and to play an important role in their common reforestation project.
To find out more about biodiversity in New Caledonia, have a look at the biodiversity portal that brings together participants, scientists, institutions, programs and organisations in this project.
What do Australia and New Caledonia have in common?
They are both beautiful Pacific Islands, although Australia is also identified as a continent.
They have both suffered major deforestation for mining and agriculture.
They both have a colonial history which dispossessed an indigenous community, although France has done a better job of providing housing and education for its citizens, including indigenous ones.
They have very similar climate and biodiversity regions.
They were both convict colonies.
Both suffer from the political impact of continued high immigration. In New Caledonia's case this is mainly restricted to French and European skilled or wealthy nationals, whereas in Australia it is part of a virtually unrestricted program to inflate local prices for resources and assets.
Source for announcements about the One Tree, One Day, One Life program launch was a Press release from Noumea, 8 November 2011, from Florence Dhie-Le Guénédal, Antipode Productions. Also: www.1tree1day1life.nc and www.biodiversity.nc
Why do humans think they own the planet? Are we as a species so ignorant of basic ecology that we would continuously deprive the very creatures who make the forest of anywhere to roost? It is frightening to watch this attitude balloon into what could potentially be not only suicidal but ecocidal.
After Hendra virus was found in a Queensland dog recently, and a total of 14 HeV infected horses died or were put down since June 20 this year, Queensland opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman suggests smoke bombs and choppers to evict urban bat colonies then the roosting trees should be cut down. Failing what he refers to as 'humane relocation of colonies,' he recommends that the bats be 'culled.'
Premier Anna Bligh issued warnings to the media from scientists that moving bat colonies out of populated areas would increase their stress levels and could worsen the spike in Hendra virus cases. She announced that Qld and NSW would increase Hendra virus research funding by $6 million over the next three years.
Charters Towers Mayor Ben Callcott went even further. He is quoted as saying that he backed the use of helicopters but said culling rather than smoke-bombing was the real solution. He said "Bats are the same as dinosaurs, we have got no dinosaurs and we should not have any bats either."
But dogs, cats, rats, mice, brush-tailed possums, bandicoots, hares, carpet pythons and any blood sucking insects such as ticks, mosquitoes and march flies also carry HeV, should we ‘cull’ them all too?
Do Flying Foxes Cause HeV in Horses?
The link between flying foxes and horse hendra is not definitive. AAHL research shows that HeV cannot be transmitted directly to horses from flying foxes (from urine/faeces/saliva). Aust Veterinary Journal Vol 76 No 12, says: “It is possible to transmit HeV from cats to horses. Transmission from Pt. poliocephalus to horses could not be proven and neither could transmission from horses to cats ….. the virus is not highly contagious.”
Not enough is known about how Hendra circulates in the environment. Other possible infection routes need to be investigated e.g. exposure to other species or food contamination from cat/rat/mouse faeces. It's possible that horses and flying foxes could be infected from a third source.
There is no threat to humans as long as bats are not touched. Hendra does not spread easily and is rarely transferred from horses to humans.
Why do we Need Flying Foxes?
Flying foxes are keystone species. Humans could never plant forests as quickly and effectively as bats which disperse up to 60,000 seeds from night-flowering species each per night. Our World Heritage forests, endangered ecological communities, woodlands, forest ecosystems (along with the biodiversity they contain) and fruits like bananas, paw paws, durians, cashews (including hardwoods, banksias, eucalypts and melaleucas) could not survive without flying foxes.
For Mayor Callcott to be inducing public hysteria with his media statements is irresponsible and could endanger flying foxes. Two species are already federally threatened. Their habitat has been seriously eroded by human encroachment and their populations are being hounded from roosting spot to roosting spot. Humans simply must learn to cohabit peacefully and respectfully with these forest makers or we will have no more forests.
Threats of Bats to Humans Compared with Threats of Humans to Humans
According to the Bureau of statistics causes of death 2008 updated 31/03/2010, 26 people died falling from ladders, 226 people died in motorcycle accidents, 182 deaths due to obesity, and 1402 total transport accidents and from other sources around 14000 die from smoking related illness, 10000 from alcohol related illnesses. 29000 Australians are know to be HIV positive, do we quarentine these people to protect the spread of infection? Is it our innate features that allow us to accept threats by fellow humans and at the same time rise to eliminate threats from wildlife? Since the early 1970's there have been 26 fatality’s caused by crocodiles. Whenever a crocodile shows it's head near an urban area there is a rise to cull crocodiles. The same reaction is being seen towards flying foxes. Are those in society who cry out to remove potential threats from wildlife to the pinnacle of human evolution, which will ensure no other species will threaten our continued rise?
While research is totally focussed on flying-foxes the real culprit could remain unidentified. We need good investigative science to solve the problem, not hysteric, knee-jerk reactions from bureaucrats like Mayor Callcott.
Lastly, we can live without horses but we cannot live without flying foxes, so let's get our priorities straight.
This year, 2011, is the International Year of the Bat, let's get this one right for a change! www.bats.org.au
Informed comments found at
Article by Jill Redwood, in response to the historic agreement which has reportedly been reached to save Tasmania's wild forests. The intention is to move loggers from the old forests into the plantation industry. The Age reported that "Parties to the talks, who all strenuously rejected the involvement of politicians in the negotiations, refused to comment before today's announcement." International markets for woodchips have been down for some time. Victorians might wonder, is the Tasmanian Green movement different from - and more really green - than the one identified with the Victorian "Green Brand" party? (See discussion below "Are the Greens a real alternative?".) Consider also that Environmentalist movements exist outside political parties and that we do not need political parties to make a difference if those parties do not serve us well. The following article is sourced from Jill Redwood. This 'teaser' is from candobetter.org Photos by Sheila Newman
Dot points on Tuesday 19th October 2010 Tasmania agreement announcement and implications for Victoria and beyond
(thanks to Luke for some of these figures).
· Gunns has seen the light and is moving into plantations only.
· Very courageous move by industry to get together with green groups and come to an agreement that helps everyone.
· Victorian industry can also follow suit – govt should help these negotiations along.
· Needed now more than ever – native forests logging is on down-hill run as:
o plantation products dominate the timber market,
o high Aussie dollar (and Asia still recovering from GFC) means export woodchip industry in steep decline,
o resource running out – forcing govt to move loggers into highly contentious areas = provoking conflict.
o Gunns – large company, has seen the future is not in native forests.
· Industry also agreed not to use native forest wood “waste” to burn for electricity – a major win.
Plantation option in Victoria is real.
· Plantations can meet 98% of our timber and woodchip/paper markets right now – meaning there is no excuse to continue clearfelling and industrial scale logging in native forests.
· Many new building products like compressed wood board and engineered lumber (flooring/craft wood/paneling/LVL etc) don’t require large diameter trees. General framing timber (scantling) is easily supplied by pine plantations. The small amount of feature grade hardwood timber that can’t yet be supplied by plantations (such as for high grade hardwood flooring and high quality panelling) can be provided by alternate and engineered wood products, recycled hardwood or carefully selected trees from native forests (but not clearfell logging).
· The logging industry is in terminal decline in East Gippsland with employment being less than 1% of the region’s total workforce. The rest of Eastern Victoria is similar – and even Maryvale paper mill is 80% plantation based. Not difficult to get them out of Central Highland’s forests.
To ensure secure employment, the industry needs to:
1. Retool their mills to process plantation wood (from Tumut NSW, Sth Gippy or NE plantations).
2. Receive govt assistance to relocate workers and families to the plantation areas of Western Vic. where the plantation companies are actually importing workers from overseas to fill the employment gaps in logging.
3. Take exit packages and be assisted into other areas of employment.
In Victoria we take 1.9 million tones of native forest wood out every year. Of that, 1.5 million tones is pulplogs – all of which is 100% substitutable with plantation wood.
Of the other 400,000 tonnes that are sawlog trees, the are used for pallets, roof battens, fence palings, crossbars on power poles, subfloor bearers - all are easily substitutable by plantation wood and other products.
The 1-2% used for high quality appearance grade furniture, paneling etc could still be taken from native forests if very carefully selected and used. Clearfelling thousands ha is now unnecessary (never was needed until woodchipping dominated).
1986 – NIEIR reported on the projected impacts on the new parks in East Gippy (LCC recommendations). They calculated that unless govt altered their policies there was no future for the industry. They recommended reduction in the take of logs from around 360,000m3 a year of sawlogs (not counting woodchip logs) to 70,000 m3 to ensure sustainability. But government and industry continued cutting at 280,000 through all 1990s and 110,000m3 average in the 2000s).
(In 2002-03 - 191,000m3 sawlogs, in 2003-04 - 135,000m3, 2004-05 – 122,000m3, 2005-06 - 106,000m3, 2006-07 - 91,000m3, 2007-08 - 99,000m3 sawlogs. Plus about 350,000m3 of pulplogs as well. Clearly overcutting – ‘cut-out and get-out’ mentality has ruled the industry and govt)
85% of trees taken from native forests ends up as woodchips. Criminal.
Small 2% of high grade timber can be taken from selectively logged trees off public land while hardwood plantations are established (20-25 years). Some hardwood plantations for pulp could already be used for this if managed for sawlogs and milled in a particular way.
Western Vic plantations is where it’s mostly at – ABARE figures show that up until 2007-08 – only getting 0.5million tonnes m3 of plantation hardwood chips – but this year these plantations are supplying 4 million tonnes! The wall of wood has hit us from plantings in the 80s and 90s.
Western Vic plantations companies (Gunns, Australian Blue Gum Plantations and ITC) are importing jobs from OS to log the plantations! Plenty of scope for helping relocate Eastern Vic logging workers into secure jobs there.
Environment East Gippsland Inc
(6800 Bonang Rd Goongerah)
Locked Bag 3
ORBOST Vic 3888
Ph (03) 5154 0145
Environment East Gippsland's
Inaugural Melbourne Meeting.
6pm Wednesday 12th of May.
2nd Floor, Kindness House,
288 Brunswick St, FITZROY.
Please RSVP to [email protected]
Environment East Gippsland is to hold its inaugural Melbourne meeting next week. 6pm Wednesday 12th of May, 2nd Floor, Kindness House, 288 Brunswick St, between Victoria St and Johnston St. We’ve been planning this since the Easter Ecology Camp so come join in with your fellow tree huggers.
Facilitator/s, minute taker appointed
Introductions & Updates.
Supreme Court Case - Judgement Day.
Promoting the forests solution in the climate and water debates.
Media stories for Melbourne.
Local papers or MX style stories.
Stories that connect Melbourne communities and forests
Call for a 40% tax on logging companies profits as well?
Letter writing -
Your local pollies
State and Federal Ministers
Your power company – would they sell incinerated owls with their electricity?
Young’ns for Old Growth
DVD production and/or YouTube clip – forests and climate etc
RAW Files – Photoshop work.
Fundraising ideas –
Card sales – Christmas retailers
Art show and auction
Brown Mt Wine - see below
community benefit card
Stalls and Events
eBay auctions or garage sale
Skills and resources list
Light nibblies supplied but feel free to bring a dip or a couple of tomatoes.
Please RSVP to [email protected]
A new you-tube film about the forest protectors' camp and community at Goongerah, South East Gippsland, near Brown Mountain. The long trial for the wildife on Brown Mountain has come to an end - all except the final decision by Justice Osborn, which all await with baited breath. This is a land-mark trial where real-life avatars have come out and opposed the 160 year old treatment of Victoria's forests and animals as colonial spoils for the taking and Victorians as mere servants to the State.
Read inside a fascinating summary of the arguments and evidence from either side: Vic Forests (for logging) and Environment East Gippsland Inc. (for nature). Revelatory of Department of Environment and Sustainability.
Court case finishes – summary of the final 3 days.
The final days of summing up both VicForests’ and Environment East Gippsland’s arguments were heard in the Melb Supreme Court on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (23rd-25th March). These were the last submissions presented to Justice Osborn who heard the 17 day trial that started on the 1st March.
Both sides presented their condensed arguments from the past 3 weeks. Early in the case, the economic claims were not allowed as VicForests (VF) had not made any allegations in its defence about economic impact, and there was only summary evidence supplied by VF, without details. The arguments focused on the laws covering protection of threatened species and how VF did or didn’t abide by them. Justice Osborn has reserved his decision . Our legal team have said he could hand this down in a month or two or three ...
Despite some fairly revealing and insightful evidence being given and some quite startling information to come out of cross examination of witnesses, the decision will be looking at the complexities of the laws governing forests and wildlife management.
A new you-tube film about the forest protectors' camp and community at Goongerah, South East Gippsland, near Brown Mountain.../files/Brown-Mt-Supporters-in-Melb-for-trial-.jpg" vspace="13" hspace="13" align="left">
A support team of about 45 people attended the Melbourne start of the case to show that there was widespread interest in Brown Mountain. Thanks everyone who came along and who sat through the proceedings.
1st Day (Tues) – the defence (VicForests) lawyers had the stage on day 1 and delivered their case.
To those who hadn’t heard the facts, arguments and cross examinations of the previous 3 weeks, it could have sounded fairly reasonable and even worrying. Read our responses to their arguments below. VF lawyers’ arguments consisted of the following:
* EEG didn’t have standing to take the case to court as we are too small a group, don’t have a special interest in Brown Mountain, only an emotional or intellectual interest. The fact that we didn’t apply to be on the local Shire environment committee, and the claim that we didn’t take part in the Nat Estate study on 1990 – (but we actually did) and various other arguments were used to attempt to argue we shouldn’t be able to sue VicForests.
* It was DSE that should have looked out for threatened species, not VicForests. VF can’t change zonings.
* The Potoroo wasn’t ‘detected’ within the meaning of the action statement (FFG Act) - although the animals and the sites were confirmed, the full two weeks of footage was withheld by EEG (under instruction from our lawyers) until late 2009 – making the authorities suspicious of possible tampering and was the reason given by VF for not protecting the area.
* Language in the FFG Act and Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act, is not enforceable.
* VF noted that the Forest Management Plan was out of date (ended in 2006), which generated much discussion. Justice Osborn pointed out that if it was no longer applicable, then all logging in EG was illegal as the FM Plan is needed before forest can be logged. That point was then quickly resolved.
* The Precautionary Principle, which was a major argument in the whole case. It was first claimed by VF not to give rise to any legally enforceable obligation against it, and even if it did, VF claimed it had observed the PP even if it wasn’t thought to be regarded as enough precaution.
* VF claim Potoroo wasn’t ‘detected’ to their or DSE’s satisfaction,
* On Quolls - there are 75 already protected in EG and that was enough,
* For the new species of crayfish – it’s still being named and so doesn’t have a prescription for protection and the 100 metre buffer around the creek will protect it
* Sooty and Powerful Owls – only dusk calls detected but no confirmed nesting or roosting sites so no need to protect. Plus there are enough Sooty Owls Management Areas and Powerful Owl Management Areas, despite some evidence from DSE suggesting the protection zone targets had not been reached.
* Giant Burrowing Frogs – even if it is high quality and likely habitat, none have yet been detected.
* Hollow Bearing Trees – logging prescriptions are claimed to look after them.
* Gliders are there in high numbers, yes - but it’s not for VF to protect them and 100 mts along creek should do anyway.
* The Precautionary Principle requires caution, but not total infallibility. Actions to express adherence to the PP can be many. VF argued that a 100 metre buffer along the creek was caution enough for all the species.
2nd day of summing up (Wed) –EEG, the plaintiff’s case was presented.
Debbie Mortimer SC argued that:
* The standards and conditions in the FFG Act Action Statements, Forest Management Plan and the Code of Forest Practices hasn’t been and can’t be complied with by VicForests.
* VicForests was the “agent of harm” about to begin clearfelling when we applied for the first injunction, and VF was as obliged to adhere to the law for threatened wildlife as was DSE.
* VF don’t need to have DSE declare a conservation zone for VF to adhere to the law or decide not to log.
* The Allocation Order (giving forests to VicForests from DSE), Timber Release Plan and the Code (for logging) all mention adhering to the Forest Management Plan.
* The issue of whether EEG has legal standing to bring the case to court was argued well for showing we did have standing. It had not been objected to by VF strongly before we embarked on the 17 day trial.
* If various surveys had not have been carried out (owls, Gliders, Crayfish and Potoroos), the court case would not have commenced. Surveys show a genuine interest.
* Obligation on VF are mandatory – they don’t allow them to ‘duck and weave’ around these obligations.
* The main law is the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act – it deals directly with Threatened Species, and binds the state/crown to protect endangered wildlife. The FM Plan and the Code both refer to it.
* Forests are a community property. Managed for common good into future. DSE’s position in the evidence given by Lee Meizis was that the Timber Release Plan gave ownership of forests to VF to exploit, but with the right to exploit comes responsibilities for conservation.
* FFG Act has strong ‘must do’ language and is imposed on government authorities. Important objectives of FFGA disregarded by VF. Action Statements within the FFGA are enforceable.
* Debbie Mortimer said “In every way, VicForests pushed away from its conservation duties” to benefit its access to forests for logging.
* VF is not abiding by the law by merely reading the Action Statements.
* Logging high quality Quoll habitat is endangering the animal’s survival. At odds with the Precautionary Principle because this species is only found at a functional level in East Gippsland now.
* Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act directly forced VF to adhere to the Code. Allocation Order also states VF MUST comply with CFP, PP, AS and FMP.
* Not complying with the Code was a breach. Acts refer to the Code being adhered to.
* VF must consider advice from relevant experts in Flora and Fauna. The advice of these internal DSE experts were ‘completely sidelined’ during the process that lead to the decision to clearfell Brown Mountain. It was also claimed that the Minister was not given important information on these species.
* The 100 mt buffer offered by VF would not protect the Gliders, Quoll, owls, Potoroo and Large Brown Tree Frog and was unknown if it would adequately protect the Giant Burrowing Frog, Brown Mt Crayfish and Square-tailed Kite. Leaving additional large trees while logging and burning the remainder would be unlikely to protect the habitat values of hollow bearing trees (85 out of 207 was all that survived the logged and burnt coupe across the creek in April 2009).
* The guideline to protect 100 ha for rich populations of gliders is self-regulating and doesn’t need major fuss – just needs to be mapped and complied with.
* Justice Osborn discussed decent reserve designs and ‘whacking in’ some reserve along the creek.
* The oft-cited ‘risk-weighted consequences’ of the precautionary principle the VF lawyers used daily, does not mention social or economic ‘balance’ and in context is only about conservation risks and consequences.
* We are dealing with some species in a demonstrable state of decline. Failure to halt damage is serious. There is lack of scientific certainty as there is no research or info on impact of logging.
* New reserves mean nothing unless we assess the quality and type of the habitat, logging history etc.
* BHP was used as an example of a company which must employ specialist ecologists/biologists if it plans to carry out potentially damaging work. VF either needs to employ biodiversity staff, or get in consultants to survey and advise forest planning.
* Potoroo detections 100% authentic – no questioning by VF of witnesses – fully accepted, yet despite 3 verified detections, VF made no attempt to consult with DSE biologists or protect 50 ha for each as stated in the FFGA.
* DSE set up its own ‘rules’ outside of existing legislation.
* DM asked for full injunction to logging.
Day 3 – Thursday – response from Defendant (VF)
* Having to abide by the SFT Act could mean that every logger, truckie, contractor, roading operator must comply with these laws as well. Does that mean every worker has to set up a biodiversity unit and consult biologists?
* Argues again, it’s all DSE’s responsibility.
* Argues that the words for Greater Glider protection in the FMP says “approximately 100 ha” is unenforceable – how much is ‘approximately’?
* VicForests Lawyers couldn’t find any expert biologists to speak for them. They tried.
* Not being given the entire potoroo footage was the whole problem.
* The 400 ha reserve to the (drier, steeper) west is a benefit for all the species.
* Crays were found in the creek next to a previously logged forest so therefore they can survive OK.
* Potoroo no 2 (on camera) wasn’t used in original evidence (it was actually discovered after writ was served but this was overlooked by VF lawyers).
* The hair tube evidence of the Potoroo near proposed coupe 19 didn’t come with a copy of the note when it was sent off for analysis – so how do we know where it really was?
Final Judgement awaits
This ended the long trial for the wildlife of Brown Mountain. We await Justice Osborn’s final decision ...
Our supporters have been showing astonishing determination to have our forests and wildlife protected! We’ve hit our first minimum target which is really something for a small enviro group. But due to the case having gone for 16-17 days when it was only down for a 10 day hearing, we are still needing some help to cover the extra costs for this time in court with our team, a couple of extra witnesses and various associated costs.
Source of this article was "[EnvEastGipp] Brown Mt Detailed Update, 29 March 2010" , almost verbatim, but without all the photos. The website for Environment East Gippsland is here.
"Save our Bush" Rally
Wednesday 24 February from 12-2pm
on Parliament House steps
The Rally aims to draw public attention to the destruction of our native bushland by the State Government's "growth-at-any-cost" policy of building freeways -- instead of promoting alternative modes of transport.
The Rally will coincide with a motion to the Legislative Council by the Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik, opposing construction of the Peninsula Link -- which would destroy much of The Pines Flora & Fauna Reserve (220 hectares) near Frankston.
Other important areas of native bushland and wetlands due to be bulldozed for roads in Greater Melbourne and beyond include:
* Browns Mountain (S-W Victoria)
* Coomoora Woodland Flora & Fauna Reserve (Keysborough)
* Belvedere, Witternberg & Pobblebonk Reserves (Mornington Peninsula)
* Devilbend Reserve (Mornington Peninsula)
* Westerfield Heritage Reserve (Mornington Peninsula)
* Bushland in the Cities of Banyule and Kingston
Comedian Rod Quantock is M.C. and the rally will include speakers, entertainment and press coverage.
Join the Rally to Save our Bush and bring as many others as possible!
Please also circulate the attached poster!
In the lead-up to International Day of Action (Oct 24th),
The Wilderness Society invites you to join us in the Central Highlands of Victoria, home to the most carbon dense forests on the planet.
On October 18th come and be part of a giant in a logged forest to show the world that protecting our native forests is crucial to reducing carbon in the atmosphere to well below 350ppm.
Aerial photographs will be taken on the day to capture our message and will be passed on via www.350.org
DATE, TIME: 10am Sunday Oct 18th
WHERE: Meet @ Wild Thyme Café, Warburton, then drive to local logged forest
WEAR: Red clothing
WHAT TO BRING: Lunch, sunshine
BE PART OF THE PICTURE!
To register interest please contact:
or (03) 9038 0888.
Transport Pooling from 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy!
It seems unlikely that Environment East Gippsland stands to wear enormous costs after all. Judge Jack Forrest seems to be taking the laws he is expected to hear the case in relation to very seriously. Those laws are all about preserving biodiversity.
Here is how he has worded a relevant part of the jugement:
"Third, VicForests correctly says that any undertaking as to damages which may be given by EEG is in effect close to meaningless. The estimate of EEG's assets vary between $10,000 and $45,000. If it is unsuccessful in the calim, presumably it will, at least, have out of pocket legal expenses, and I assume there will be no money available to satisfy the undertaking as to damages. However, this is a public interest piece of litigation against a State corporation and I bear in mind that the preservation of endangered native fauna is a paramount consideration in the statutory provisions and documents I have referred to.
The Judge seems to be saying that an injunction would be appropriate. He has, however, allowed VicForests until Thursday to prove what their loss might be if there is just a temporary injunction and not a permanent stop to logging. A final comment: Since there has been a seven month moratorium for that area up until recently, while government biologists carried out surveys to confirm EEG's findings, it would be hard for VicForests to claim sudden large losses if they were prevented from logging for another few months.
Brown Mountain - Historic win for Victorian forests hangs on funding indemnity
Monday 14th September
Ed: Shakespeare wrote that the quality of mercy is not strained but falls from heaven like the rain ...
Not much rain and not much justice in Victoria, if you don't have money...
BUT there is still hope and this case is too important to lose:
In an historic win for an environment group, the Victorian Supreme Court today decided it is appropriate to grant an injunction restraining government logging monopoly VicForests from logging two areas of forest on Brown Mountain in East Gippsland.
"This is the first time a court order has been made to prevent the destruction of old growth forests in Victoria until a trial about the lawfulness of the logging is completed", said Jill Redwood, coordinator of Environment East Gippsland, the group that took the extraordinary court action.
Money required to bring our own government to justice
"The only reason the injunction wasn't granted today is that VicForests has asked the Court to order EEG to provide a large amount of money to secure its undertaking to pay any damages which flow to VicForests from the granting of the injunction. This will be argued in court on Thursday," said Ms Redwood.
"After we discovered a rare Long-footed Potoroo in the area a few weeks ago, VicForests still insisted that it would log the area immediately. We had to rush this to court to stop them," said Ms Redwood.
In his judgment, Justice Forrest referred to photographs of logging, and said they "demonstrate the apparent total obliteration of the area of native forest as a result of logging and the subsequent burning off. To put it bluntly, once the logging is carried out and the native habitat destroyed, then it cannot be reinstated or repaired in anything but the very, very long term."
Of course, that does not mean that anyone would then be able to repair it, any more than we have repaired the forest where our cities now stand. Once that forest is gone, to all intents and purposes, it is gone forever - and the species within it never to regenerate.
“If an injunction is granted on Thursday, it will last until we go to trial to argue about whether logging this old growth forest and the effects on its wildlife is lawful."
“Brown Mountain's forests have been the litmus test for the state government's commitment to forest conservation since 1989, when they were first declared National Estate by the Commonwealth Government but clearfelled by the State Government", said Ms Redwood.
It should be the government upholding the law to protect our wildlife, not fighting against it
"When will the Brumby Government get the message? It should be the government upholding the law to protect our wildlife, not fighting against it."
The endangered wildlife identified around Brown Mountain Creek includes the Sooty Owl, Long-footed Potoroo and Orbost Spiny Crayfish as well as the sensitive Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Gliders.
The matter returns to Court before Justice Forrest on Thursday 17 September 2009.
People with guts also an endangered species which needs protection
Please help Jill Redwood and the EEG group. People with guts in Victoria are almost as rare as the long-footed potoroo. Let's help to make brave people prepared to fight for justice flourish too!
Leadbeater’s Possum – Victoria’s endangered State Faunal Emblem.
The following article is based on an urgent communication from Friends of Leadbeater's Possum.
Leadbeater’s Possum (LBP) Quick Facts:
- Approx 43% of the Leadbeater's Possum Permanent Reserve System (30,000ha) was burnt in the 2009 fires.
- It is estimated remaining populations are around just 1,000 individuals in the wild.
- There are no Leadbeater's Possum in captivity in Australia, and there is no captive breeding program planned
to help increase their population.
- Massive scale salvage logging and new timber harvesting coupes in areas of un?burnt water catchments are compounding the effects of the bushfires by removing all LBP habitat elements for the next few hundred years!
What can you do to help LBPs this Threatened Species Day???
On September 7th please make the effort to contact Premier Brumby and let him know you are not happy with the way his government is treating our forests and that you want more to be done to protect these forests for threatened species like Leadbeater’s Possum.
- Demand a full scale review of our forest estate
- Demand a full scale review of our forest estate – before any more logging coupes or salvage logging coupes are approved.
We need to ensure our State Government is managing our forests for threatened species, biodiversity & ecological values,
carbon storage, water catchments and air quality – for all Australians, not just those benefiting from our destructive
timber harvesting industry.
- Demand an end to all logging in water catchments. Water scarcity is an increasingly alarming issue, and rather than building destructive pipelines and energy intensive desalination plants, Victoria should be protecting the water catchments
that have provided us with some of the best drinking water in the world!
- Demand more resources be spent on threatened species management, including broad scale monitoring programs, habitat enhancement measures & community engagement.
To Contact Premier John Brumby:
www.premier.vic.gov.au, Twitter: ‘vicpremier’
For more about saving the little Leadbeater's Possum contact
Friends of the Leadbeater's Possum
Email Friends of Leadbeater's Possum
PO Box 1175
Healesville VIC 3777
Today is a dark day for native vegetation and the environment
Website - http://livingwiththebush.org/dp/
Today (Thursday 3rd Sept) Brumby bulldozed amendments to the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley Regional Strategy Plan.
This was pushed through both houses of parliament with less than one days notice so the Government can soon remove vegetation protection to allow:
- clearing of all trees and vegetation within 10m of a house
- clearing a 4m wide strip of all vegetation along each property boundary
- clearing any vegetation except trees between 10m and 30m from a house;
from all of Victoria except the 20 urban councils around Melbourne proper.
This will have a devastating impact in many areas of Victoria where many communities live with in a bushland setting.
And the evidence is that doing this will not make us safe from bushfire.
There are examples from Black Saturday of houses without any nearby vegetation that burnt, of fires that raced through short grass fields to ignite buildings. Houses located more than 380 metres from continous bush were lost.
Vegetation can also act as an essential windbreak, reducing the wind that intensifies fires, and may provide protection from radiant heat as well as slowing down or stopping embers.
Yet the Brumby government intends to allow this clearing until the final recommendations of the Bushfire Commission are released next year.
This will encourage unneighbourly behaviour
By then everyone who has been endeavouring to clear their block for any reason, including gaining a better view will have done so. We will have lost forever even more of our biodiversity and dumped more green house gases into the atmosphere.
The Living With The Bush Coalition has been formed to campaign against this proposal. We believe that this unfettered clearing is fundamentally flawed in that it will not protect houses from bushfires, may in fact increase the danger by creating more intense fires and will destroy the reason so many of us live with the bush.
Read our charter, "Living with the Bush"
You can read our charter at as well as more information on this issue, why we have reached this position and what you can do.
If you support the views expressed in the charter please consider endorsing it, either individually or as on behalf of a group.
You can register your support at the website.
With a large community outcry I hope we can get these unilateral changes modified to something that will protect our lives instead of just removing trees.
Please forward this on to your networks to help build the Living with the Bush Coalition,
0407 300 188
VicForests sued for illegal logging Tuesday 25th August 2009
Today, Environment East Gippsland commenced proceedings against VicForests in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
A writ was filed with the court this morning and has just been served on VicForests.
“We ask the Court for a permanent injunction to stop VicForests from logging Brown Mountain” said Jill Redwood, Coordinator of EEG. “We also ask the Court to declare that the logging of Brown Mountain is unlawful”.
Brown Mountain is known habitat for at least five species of wildlife listed as vulnerable or threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
The Court has not yet set a date for the hearing of the case.
Logging this massive forest represents huge CO2 sink destruction
News is just in is that a decision to log the huge forests of Brown Mountain will be made in a week or so and the loggers will go in immediately afterwards! Brumby is not planning to protect it! Be there Tomorrow at 10.30am on the steps of Parliament House Victoria. We want everyone who can come along - young and old.
Old Growth stops this land from drying and burning!
The more old growth we cut down the more drying of the land, reduced rainfall, increased temperatures and risk of more and hotter bushfires. Bushfires dominate in managed and thinned forest, not in old growth! Logging Brown Forest will cause more bad bushfires in Victoria. Campervan, 4WDS and cars needed. Contact 0413927044
Climate Change Activism - less talk - more local action on the big factors - defend the forests!
Crikey news 12 August 2009 carries a relevant opinion article today on the farce that climate action has become.
Emissions trading debate: is this the best we can do?
[...] the public don’t have the faintest idea how emissions trading works and are completely disengaged from the debate over model details. They just want something done about climate change and know that the experts think emissions trading is the way to go.
This entire debate is being conducted under false pretenses or on the basis that what is manifestly not the case, is. Is this the best a democracy can do?
Making the 'solutions' very abstract and removed to a global forum of international 'experts' is the best way to keep people from local action and critical thinking and to mire action in impenetrable jargon and unverifyable accounting of C02 tradeoffs, offsets, sinks etc.
So much more we can do for ourselves here
There is so much more we can do for ourselves, crucially by stopping removal of vegetation for population, infrastructure and economic expansion. For instance we have in Victoria a record of climate change related fires which can be linked at their worst to the thinned and managed forests here. See "Victorian Bush-fires: ABC 7.30 Report ignores facts, creates scapegoats". We have climate refugees now living in tents in the winter cold as a result of these fires. Yet, in this most cleared of states, Mr Brumby is about to send in the loggers to Brown Mountain, where 600 year old trees testify to the very low risk of out-of-control fires in old growth forests. Most recently scientists have tied forest to inland rainfall . Deforestation drys continents - new theory explains how and a huge environmental and political experiment in Borneo by Willie Smit demonstrated they are right , "Recreating Eden". Climate activism is a huge source of organised public action in the name of which small groups should be able to act. Instead we see a crowd hypnotised by Al Gore and captured and harnessed by various local political groups in their usual quest for power and dollars. It amazes me that the Al Gore Climate Change activists, for all their repetitive noise are apparently unaware of or incapable of stopping the destruction of forests in Australia. Why are they not converging in busloads to stop the loggers and the developers' bulldozers?
Home Grown solutions in NSF and Permaculture
We also have at least two homegrown major applied science theories and practice in the structural ecology of Peter Andrews' Natural Sequence Farming (NSF), and the social theory (as well as the farming theory) in Bill Mollison's Permaculture.
With this in mind, I hope I may now return your attention to the crucial local political action to save Brown Mountain Forest for tomorrow in Melbourne. This is a huge forest and logging it will make a HUGE difference to CO2 emissions and local and regional temperature and rainfall if allowed to proceed in this (it bears repeating) the most cleared of Australian states. Protest tomorrow (12 August) at 10.30am on the steps of Parliament House Victoria. Everyone who can come along - young and old. Contact 0413927044
The picture above shows an orangutang rescued from the rubbish heap as a baby, now thriving with its own baby.
But this isn't just a tale of a few sad orangutangs living on the edge...
Willie Smits went back at night to a market where he had seen a very sick baby orangutang in a cage and was not surprised to find that it had been discarded onto a rubbish heap and left to die. He forced it to drink and saved its life. Soon he had 1000 oranutangs and nowhere to put them.
So he found some very degraded land and reclaimed it. In less than a decade the land was reinvigorated and could provide shelter and incomes to many families as well as a healthy population of orangutangs. He integrated this reclamation with empowerment of the local people whose economic fortunes, he was able to show them, were inextricably linked to the health of orangutangs. He was very careful to make government absolutely transparent and describes what was necessary.
They grew a biodiverse forest with seeds planted in orangutang dung. Then many birds and animals found the forest, very quickly. How wonderful!
This is an incredible film, all biologically credible. It occurs in a third world country where the dyak people (the forest people) have been dispossessed and murdered by Indonesian colonists. The people in the area in question had high infant mortality, high alcoholism and lived in misery.
The film gives a quick overview of the science of rain-making in the tropics and says that there is a different dynamic there from dry forest rain. However, rehydrating the forest is a matter of how and what you plant.
Now the rainfall in this area is huge. The continual forest fires have stopped.
This could happen in Victoria.
I found out about this film from Natural Sequence Farming, which is an Australian method for rehydrating land. I have been discussing forest rehydration in Victoria, Australia to stop this place burning up completely.
Not so long ago, a giant thermal rain-bearing wind carried moisture inland from giant forests on the eastern coast of Australia. The giant thermal has disappeared along with the rain. Read why.
See also, "Deforestation drys continents - new theory explains how" Also see, at end of article, a short report about DSE from defenders of the forest at Brown Mountain.
This article was originally published on the Natural Sequence Farming Forum
On the east coast of Australia there used to run forests that were hundreds of feet high in places and travel for miles inland from the coast.
There were houses all along the east coast that were covered in mould, on the east side of the house.
A great thermal existed called the Tanami Wind. This was the exact process that occurred as described in the articles quoted by Sheila about forests creating rain (Deforestation drys continents - new theory explains how). This thermal wind was produced by the great forests along the east coast that drew moist air from the sea sending it thousands of miles inland carrying life-giving rain.
Its the reason that Australians developed the cavity brick wall.
TODAY THIS FOREST NO LONGER EXISTS....The vegetation has all but been removed....which cooled the land and created the thermal wind which was caused by the temperature gradient between the warm sea air and the cooler air over the vegetated landscape.
In Mataranka in the NT the ancient Dreamtime stories of the Mangarayi and Yungman tribes describe a wind sweeping in from the east that created the area.
This short article about a tragic transformation in recent Australian history, was contributed in response to candobetter articles and reports about the role of vegetation, especially forests, in create rain and the relationship between desertification and deforestation.
Author: Duane, Assistant to Peter Andrews, of Natural Sequence Farming.
Editor's note: This process is ongoing and our governments are so plugged into the dead-end of industrial growth and financial rope-tricks that they are unable to stop the insane state of logging. Their actions are so indefensible that they avoid scrutiny by secrecy.
Here is the latest on the Brown Mountain destruction:
Dated 16-9-09: "Yesterday we received a 'NO' from the FOI unit to a request to access the DSE's own Brown Mt wildlife survey report that was sent to the minister. They are still playing politics with our old growth forests. Extra pressure is needed at this critical time." email sheila[AT]candobetter if you want to help.
Preliminary directions hearing on 20 April 2009. Public hearings commence 11 May.
Call for submissions. General submissions close on 18 May 2009.
Input from Victorian communities will be critical to the Royal Commission's task to fully investigate the causes, circumstances, planning and responses to the bushfires from late January to February 2009.
Submissions are one of the main ways that individuals and organisations can contribute to the Royal Commission.
Call for submissions
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission is calling for written submissions from any interested individuals or organisations. All submissions should relate to the terms of reference of the Royal Commission.
General submissions close at 4.00pm, Monday 18 May 2009.
Further submissions around specific areas of interest of the Royal Commission may be invited at a later date.
Important information for all submitters
* All submissions will be treated as public documents unless agreed otherwise by the Royal Commission. This means that in all but exceptional cases, submissions will be published on the Royal Commission’s web site. They may also be cited in reports or materials published by the Royal Commission.
* The name and town or suburb of each submitter will be identified as part of every published submission. Other contact details will be removed before publishing.
* Should you wish to make a confidential submission, you are requested to contact the Royal Commission in advance of lodging your submission at [email protected] or on 1800 243 650 to notify us of your request.
* Anonymous submissions will not be accepted.
* The Royal Commission will not publish submissions if it believes that the submission material is or could be defamatory.
Making a submission
Submissions can be made electronically (via this web site) or via post.
(Where possible, the Commission would appreciate submissions in electronic format.)
Supporting materials, such as photos and footage, are welcome if they are considered relevant to the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference. Materials can be lodged as part of electronic or postal submissions. NB. We request that submitters do not send any original materials.
Download the Making a Submission fact sheet to find out more.
Use the Make a Submission form to lodge your submission electronically.
Postal submissions must include a coversheet and should be sent to:
2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission
GPO Box 4358
Melbourne VIC 3001
Need assistance in preparing your submission?
The Bushfire Legal Help service, a coalition of legal assistance providers, is offering free information and advice to those affected by the Victorian bushfires about ways to contribute to the Royal Commission.
For further information, visit www.bushfirelegalhelp.org.au or call 1800 113 432.
Whilst many people have been aware (but have mostly been ignored) that vegetation, especially forests, creates rain, and whilst desertification has been linked to deforestation historically many times, there is a new and robust theory to explain how this may happen.
See also How logging causes forest fires
Original source of article:Rainforests may pump winds worldwide by Fred Pierce, New Scientist, 1st April 2009, issue no.2702.]
Whilst many thoughtful people have worked out (but have mostly been ignored) that vegetation, especially forests, create rain, and whilst desertification has been linked to deforestation historically many times, there is a new and robust theory to explain how this may happen.
The theory argues that forests generate winds that help pump water around the planet. This article says that the theory would explain how it rains as much in the interiors of forested continents as on the coasts.
"If correct, the theory would explain how the deep interiors of forested continents get as much rain as the coast, and how most of Australia turned from forest to desert. It suggests that much of North America could become desert - even without global warming."
The New Scientist article reports that "up to half the precipitation falling on a typical tropical rainforest evaporates or transpires from trees. ... Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the St Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute in Russia say that forests also create winds that pump moisture across continents."
How can forests create wind?
[Water vapour from coastal forests and oceans condenses into droplets and clouds. The gas takes up less space as it turns to liquid, lowering local air pressure.] Because evaporation is stronger over the forest than over the ocean, the pressure is lower over coastal forests, which suck in moist air from the ocean. This generates wind that drives moisture further inland. The process repeats itself as the moisture is recycled in stages, moving towards the continent's heart (see diagram). As a result, giant winds transport moisture thousands of kilometres into the interior of a continent.
Coastal forests create giant winds that push water thousands of kilometres inland
Huge volumes can be involved.
More moisture typically evaporates from rainforests than from the ocean. The Amazon rainforest, for example, releases 20 trillion litres of moisture every day.
New Scientist reports that Makarieva and Gorshkov told them that, "In conventional meteorology the only driver of atmospheric motion is the differential heating of the atmosphere. That is, warm air rises." "Nobody has looked at the pressure drop caused by water vapour turning to water." The scientists, [whose theory relies on the physics of air movement] have dubbed this the "biotic pump" and claim it could be "the major driver of atmospheric circulation on Earth".
To back up their hypothesis they show how regions without coastal forests, such as west Africa, become exponentially drier inland. Likewise, in northern Australia, rainfall drops from 1600 millimetres a year on the coast to 200 mm some 1500 kilometres inland. In contrast, on continents with large forests from the coast to interior, rainfall is as strong inland as on the coast, suggesting the trees help shuttle moisture inland (Ecological Complexity, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2008.11.004, in press). In the Congo, for instance, around 2000 mm of rain falls each year at the coast and the same amount falls inland. The same is true in the Amazon, the Siberian Arctic and the Mackenzie river basin in northern Canada. But the US, largely forested until recently, now seems be headed for desert. Makarieva and Gorshkov told New Scientist that without rapid reforestation "the degrading temperate forests of North America are on their way to desertification".
Read the full article here Consider reading, as well, two extraordinary books about deforestation and history. One is David Montgomery, Dirt, the erosion of civilisationsUC Press, 2008 and the other is John Perlin, A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization, Harvard Univ Press, 2007. Dirt is the best written, but both are packed with information which will advance your state of knowledge way ahead of most environmentalists' and situate your understanding in a very wide context.
"(...)I consider it a grotesque piece of arrogance on our part as a human race that we think we have the right to destroy other species—plants, birds and animals—on our way to affluence. While some species have prospered as a result of human activity, the vast majority have not, and many species are now threatened with extinction.
In December 2005, the USA based National Academy of Sciences reported that human activities are leading to a wave of extinctions that is over a hundred times greater than natural rates. According to the World Conservation Union, almost 800 species have become extinct since the year 1500, when more accurate records began. The Alliance for Zero Extinction has identified a further 800 species on the brink of oblivion. These species are confined to around 600 sites around the world. Only one-third of them enjoy legal protection, and most are surrounded by human population densities approximately three times the global average.
Human activity has increased extinction by between 1,000 and 10,000 times the normal level in rainforests as a result of reduction in area alone. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the earth is down to its last five per cent of tropical forest cover and is losing that at a rate of over 200,000 square kilometres a year, with the rate of loss increasing. The world has entered the 21st century with little more than 10 per cent of its original forest cover intact and, according to the anthropologists Richard Leakey and Roger Lewis, all the forest cover will be largely gone by the year 2050.
The country which has the world’s worst record for species extinction turns out to be Australia: 27 mammal species, 23 bird species and four frog species have become extinct over the past 200 years. Our wildlife is some of the most beautiful and unusual in the world.
We are known around the world for our unique wildlife but, unfortunately, we have a very poor track record of protecting it. Everyone knows about the loss of the Tasmanian tiger, a stunning animal which is now sadly extinct, but people are less well aware of just how bad our overall track record is. We have the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world. Since European colonisation, about 10 per cent of Australia’s mammals have become extinct. In fact, almost half the mammals that have become extinct globally in the past 200 yearshave been Australian.
The World Wildlife Fund says—and they are right— that we urgently need to build a safety net of terrestrial and marine protected areas to help our unique and threatened wildlife weather the upheavals of climate change. We need to reduce the impact of invasive species like foxes and cats on our native species, we need to assist Indigenous Australians to manage fire on their country and prevent late hot dry-season fires wiping out species and their habitats and, above all, everyone needs to commit to reducing carbon emissions to prevent a wave of mass species extinctions in Australia. I believe there is an opportunity to strengthen the protection for threatened species and their habitats in the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which the Labor government has promised.
The last government failed to keep the EPBC Act list of threatened ecological communities up to date because it was pandering to National Party pressure. This has meant that large tracts of threatened habitat across the country are not receiving the protection that is warranted from the federal government under the legislation. We need to recognise the importance of biodiversity protection; it is a crucial part of this country’s climate change mitigation efforts. We need a major national biodiversity action plan and a national biodiversity initiative. I commend for the consideration of the government, the parliament and the people of Australia such an initiative, which has been put forward by the Humane Society International. I commend the Humane Society International and WWF for their essential work. I urge all Australians to support their efforts at work. I urge us to ensure that we will not allow other species to become extinct on our watch during our lifetimes."
From a speech on "Threatened and Extinct Species" to the House of Representatives
by Kelvin Thomson MP (ALP), Federal Member for Wills, Thursday 14th February 2008
http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr140208.pdf [Accessed House of Representatives Hansards]
Kelvin Thomson is a member of the Federal Labor Party and has been the member for Wills since 1996.
His home page is: http://www.alp.org.au/people/thomson_kelvin.php
Wills was previously held by:
Cleary, P.R. (An Independent) 1993-1996
Hawke, R.J.L. (Ex Prime Minister, ALP)1980-1992
Bryant, G.M. (ALP) 1955-1980
Electorate Profile of Wills:
Area and Location Description: Wills covers an area of approximately 57 sq km from Fawkner and Glenroy in the north to Brunswick in the south and also includes Essendon Airport. The main suburbs include Glenroy, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, Strathmore and parts of Brunswick, Coburg and Fawkner.
Demographic Rating: Inner Metropolitan
* THOMSON, K (ALP) 1996-
* CLEARY, P R (IND) 1993-1996
* HAWKE, R J L (ALP) 1980-1992
* BRYANT, G M (ALP) 1955-1980
* BRYSON, W G (ALP) 1949-1955