Brumby Government set to increase native forest logging volumes

Friends of the Earth and Wombat Forest Society today expressed alarm at planned increases in sawlog volumes from native forest logging in Eastern Victoria.

MEDIA RELEASE

Friends of the Earth

Wombat Forest Society

Thursday 23 April, 2009


Brumby Government set to increase native forest logging

Friends of the Earth and the Wombat Forest Society today expressed alarm at the Brumby Government’s plan to increase sawlog volumes from native forests by 20-25 per cent in Eastern Victoria from July this year.

A new 15 year sawlog Allocation Order, due to be signed by the government in July, increases annual log volumes based on the findings of two reports, the Resource Outlook Project and the Joint Sustainable Harvest Level (JoSHL).

Wombat Forest Society researcher Loris Duclos said the reports outlined the greatest changes to logging planning and management in 20 years, yet there had been no consultation with the Victorian public or consideration of the changing environment.

“One of the major problems of the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Vicforests’ JoSHL report is that it is based on computer modelling that optimises maintaining current sawlogs levels at the expense of other values, such as water yield and biodiversity,” she said.

“It effectively winds back important forest wins gained under Ministers Garbutt and Thwaites, including the “Our Forest Our Future” policy initiative, which guaranteed a 31 per cent reduction of logging across Victoria in 2002.

“If Minister Jennings signs the new sawlog Allocation Order, the state will be taking a huge backwards step.”

Ms Duclos said both groups were also concerned the reports recommended increased logging regimes without considering the changing environment.

"The JoSHL report is based on the assumption that Victoria’s annual log volume will not decrease even after three major fires in the past seven years,” she said.

“It also does not take in to consideration that growth rates will be affected by climate change and reduced rainfall. Instead the report has assumed that growth rates will be the same as they were in 1939.

“Given the prolonged drought the JoSHL report should have prioritised long term water security instead of maintaining current log volumes."

Anthony Amis, Friends of the Earth spokesperson, said the state government must delay signing off on these long-term sawlog agreements until the true forest owners, Victorians, were consulted.

“We’re calling on Premier Brumby to intervene and ensure that the public and stakeholders can comment on these plans,” he said.

For further information: Loris Duclos on (03) 53 484 634 or 0427 874 552