Conservationists have halted logging operations for a second day today, in a controversial area of old growth forest on the iconic Errinundra Plateau, far East Gippsland. A person is occupying a tree platform positioned 40m up an old growth gum tree. The platform is attached to logging machinery and preventing logging operations from continuing.
Logging contractors arrived this morning and are recklessly endangering the life of the conservationist occupying the tree platform by tampering with ropes attached to machines. Police have been notified and are expected to be in attendance shortly.
“Until recently this area of forest was reserved as a special protection zone, it contains a number of different forest types and is of high conservation value. it also contains old growth forest and is a known site for the endangered powerful owl” said David Caldwell, spokesperson for Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO).
“This area was made available for logging in 2011 as part of changes to the informal reserve system. This process swapped a large number of forest areas reserved for specific values, for areas that don’t reflect the same value. this has been something of a lifeline to the logging industry, who have repeatedly shown poor management of Victoria’s forests at the expense of the taxpayer” he said.
“This is another example of forest destruction in the face of evidence of threatened species. Our native forests are becoming degraded and without areas like this one, they won’t be able to provide our endangered animals with a chance to survive. This is a looming extinction crisis that is being assisted by forest agencies around the nation” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
Today’s action is the latest in a series of actions over the last week, known as Fearless Summer, a coalition of grassroot environment groups, committed to an end to industrial scale native forest logging and export woodchipping.