Putting VicForests as the overseer of these trials has discredited the trial’s integrity right from the start.
Trials are currently underway to assess ‘mechanical fuel reduction’ in our public forests. The details are sketchy but seem to be based on a US practice of using heavy machinery with mulching/shredding capacity to run through native forests turning everything in the lower and mid story into mulch or shredded material. Trees are taken out and sold to mills. In the US this method of ‘fuel reduction’ is driven by the commercial need for bio-char, but is dressed up as ‘fire-safety’. In Australia, burning forests as a method of ‘fuel reduction’ remains an unproven science as a method of keeping communities safe, despite its wide spread use. However there is much research that shows it can be useless to counterproductive and extremely damaging for the natural ecology and wildlife of areas.
After decades of decline and zero government interest or surveys, the clear evidence is that local extinctions of the Greater Glider are happening. It’s still in decline due to ongoing threats like clearfelling its habitat, planned burns and destruction of hollow-bearing trees that are essential for its survival. Like the Koala, the Greater Glider eats gum leaves and has a small home range. It won’t leave after its home area is cut down. The glider has an affinity for its known trees and hollows. It starves or is killed by predators once its forest or trees are destroyed.
We must return federal environmental protections to native forests.
"When an area of our pristine, irreplaceable forest is logged, it is cut down and bulldozed." Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Last Friday was a chance to restore balance to the way our native forests are managed -- a chance that was wasted.
Over the past 20 years, areas designated for logging have been exempted from Australia's national environment laws. Even open cut mines don't get that sort of special treatment. These logging laws, known as 'Regional Forest Agreements', were meant to protect jobs and protect the environment. They have failed on both counts.