Victoria’s forested ecosystems are as diverse as they are spectacular, from the ancient and remote old growth forests of East Gippsland to the tall ash forests of the Central Highlands. These forests are some of the most carbon dense ecosystems in the world with some areas recording values of over 2000 tons per hectare of carbon! Victoria’s forests are also critical habitat for many rare and threatened species such as the Powerful Owl, Spot Tailed Quoll and amazing gliding marsupials including Greater Gliders and Yellow Bellied Gliders. East Gippsland has its very own endemic marsupial, the endangered Long Footed Potoroo that lives on truffles it digs from the base of Eucalypts in tall wet forests. The Central Highlands is home to the iconic marsupial, the Leadbeaters Possum of which fewer than 1500 individuals remain. Victoria also hosts spectacular tracts of cool and warm temperate rainforests including rare ‘cross over’ rainforest in the Far East.
Above: Video footage of Long-Footed Potoroo. This footage was captured by remote sensor fauna cameras used by conservationists to document wildlife in threatened forests.
Victoria’s forests, with their significant carbon stocks and biodiversity values, are being shamefully plundered with over 20 football fields a day being destroyed by the state logging agency, Vicforests. More than 80% of what is harvested ends up as woodchips, a low value resource that is eventually turned into paper and cardboard. The number one culprit that drives this destruction in Victoria is the Japanese paper giant, Nippon Paper Group, through its subsidiaries Australian Paper and South East Fibre Exports. Australian Paper manufactures Reflex branded paper. S.E.F.E exports bulk woodchips to Japan and China through its mill and port facility at Eden in southern NSW. The woodchips that supply these facilities are sourced from forests that are critical for the storage of carbon and essential for the survival of threatened species.
The campaign for forest protection in Victoria has been going for 30 odd years and has seen significant areas of saved from the chainsaw and bulldozer and substantial areas added to our National Parks. Historical wins such as the 13 year fight to save the Goolengook valley, show that grass roots activism and direct action are vital to protecting places that we love. More recently, activists have used flora and fauna survey techniques to capture evidence of endangered species, sued the loggers in the Supreme Court and won! Sadly though, the fight for forest protection is far from over. Direct action continues to play a vital role in the push to end logging in areas of Old Growth and High Conservation Value native forest. Come and be a part of an ongoing, strong and vital grassroots campaign to protect our infinitely valuable forested ecosystems.