The Alpine Ash forests of north eastern Victoria have been devastated in recent decades. As was noted in a report from Erin Somerville for the ABC,
“Fires destroyed many of them in 2003.
Then in 2006 and 2007 they were hit by the Great Divide fires.
The Harrietville fire pounced in 2013.
Gippsland fires flared in 2017.
Then, Black Summer.
Onslaught after onslaught of fire — ghostly black and grey skeletons of thousands of ash trees still jut sharply from the steep north-east Victorian landscape”.
Despite the impacts and potential lose of these forests at a landscape level, logging continues in the area.
A current coupe on Walkers road, which is the main 2 wheel drive access to get to Mt Pinnibar from the north, is underway (please note that the area where the road crosses through the coupe is effectively being used as the log landing zone, and there are regular logging trucks on the road, then heading south on the Corryong – Benambra road).
It is likely that this logging is occurring under the justification that it is ‘fallen product recovery’.
“The intent of the Fallen Product Recovery operation is to recover any remaining merchantable product from a previously harvested coupe“.
Mountain Journal has covered the existential threats to alpine ash for years.
The Black Summer fires impacted around 88,000 hectares of ash forest, killing 25,000 hectares of young ash trees in the north east. As noted by a number of researchers, large sections of the Alpine Ash forests in the far north east face the prospect of ecological collapse – that is the loss of Alpine Ash as the dominant species and conversion to scrub and wattle dominated vegetation communities. For instance, Caitlin Cruikshank, forest restoration project manager for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) says “we really run the risk of losing ash forest across our landscape” unless there is urgent restoration efforts (reseeding of Ash forests).
Logging in fire affected Alpine Ash forests is known to increase the negative impacts of the fire.
ABOVE: the current harvesting operations on Walkers road.
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