How ironic that the timber industry chose March 21st, International Forest Day, to barricade Parliament with logging trucks and demand accelerated logging of the dwindling mature forests of the Central Highlands! When the rest of the world was reflecting on the benefits of forest wilderness for people, for economies and for the planet itself, we were confronted with a macho display calling for conservation regulations to be weakened. Both industry and union are pushing for increased clearfelling of alpine and mountain ash forests, already devastated by decades of intensive logging and catastrophic bushfires, to keep the Heyfield timber mill profitable.
Logging near the Ada Tree has highlighted tensions between conservation and the forest industry. Photo: Sarah Day
An independent scientific assessment into the conservation value of Victoria's most-loved tall forests reveals almost half are unprotected and open to logging.
The report debunks industry myths that more than 90% of these forests are somehow protected, they are not. The report reveals that, based on tenure alone, the forest industry has access to at least 42% of Victoria's eastern forests.
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.