Last summer’s fires devastated large sections of the Victorian Alps and East Gippsland. Government reports show that 31% of Victoria’s rainforests were burnt. Rainforests are fire sensitive, and need to be managed to ensure fire is kept out of these ecosystems. Apart from doing everything possible to stop fires before they get into rainforests, and suppressing fire in these forests, it also means ensuring adequate buffer zones between the rainforest and the surrounding eucalyptus dominated forest.

However, citizen scientists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) in far east Gippsland have discovered that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has failed to put in proper buffers for an area of cool-temperate rainforest on Mt Jersey in East Gippsland which is currently being logged.

GECO reports:

“Rainforest stands are meant to be given a 100m Special Protection Zone (SPZ) buffer, a requirement by law which the Environment Department is responsible for implementing. VicForests has already logged within the area which should have been afforded protection. The forests are fire-affected but recovering, citizen scientists have observed and documented rainforest species like Sassafrass and Black Olive Berry re-sprouting”.

Early last week East Gippsland residents went up to Mt Jersey to highlight the impacts of logging, which is on the doorstep of the local township. Large old trees have been found throughout the recovering forests which have been bulldozed, as well as critical recovering understorey species.

GECO says ‘This logging shows a complete failure by DELWP to adequately protect rainforest’.

Take action and get involved

The environment minister is responsible for DELWP. Please check this link to the GECO website to contact the minister to send a message to the minister. GECO says ‘We’re sick of the Department failing to regulate the rogue loggers, they need to charge VicForests and start acting to protect forests and wildlife, not look after the interests of the logging industry’.

GECO is also hosting an online information session this Saturday November 7, where you will be able to find out more and how to get involved in the campaign to protect these forests. Details here.