Forest Issues

Cottonwood Range – showcase of cataclysmic clearing

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cottonwood Range near Bendoc - regeneration failure

When the GECO crew scouted the Cottonwood range near Bendoc they found old growth forest is being logged 1km from this appallingly bad logged site.  It was logged 11 years previously. Their photograph shows it had its earlier wattle regrowth scalped back to bare earth in the hope of coaxing eucalypts back first, but has been rendered a barren landscape devoid of anything but dead bracken.  


Even more shocking is VicForests’ plan to clearfell another 20 stands of forest within 2kms.

Lancefield fire investigatator scrutinised

Saturday, October 17, 2015

After the escaped burn around Lancefield during the week of 6 October burnt 3,000 hectares, destroyed 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture, the Victorian Government has commissioned Mr Murray Carter to oversee an enquiry.

Murray Carter Mr Carter was the Manager of the WA Department of Environment and Conservation’s Fire Management Services at the time of WA’s horrific Margaret River fires in 2011. Escaped burns there destroyed 32 homes, nine chalets, four sheds and burnt out more than 3,400 hectares. A 50,000 hectare wildfire south of Nannup, a small town 70 km east of Margaret river, was also caused by an escape from a prescribed burn lit at the same time as the Margaret River burns. These were the two most costly and disastrous escapes from prescribed burns in WA and it all happened under Mr Carter’s management.

Mr Carter was then promoted to Director of Western Australia's Office of Bushfire Risk Management. He appears to have no qualifications in fire ecology or risk management, but has worked within the WA bureaucracy for many years.

Lancefield fire investigation – a smokescreen?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn Oct 2015The public has every reason to be sceptical of the outcome of the investigation the Victorian Government has commissioned into the escaped departmental burn during the week of 6 October 2015.  There is huge public outrage over the burn that turned into a wildfire and destroyed over 4,000 hectares, 4 homes, dozens of sheds, fences and pasture around Lancefield. This ‘independent’  investigator from WA was also being investigated for the very same failings in 2011-12 when he managed WA’s most disastrous escape burn that destroyed 32 homes and nine chalets in WA’s tourist region of Margaret River.

Mr Murray Carter seems an inappropriate appointment to oversee this enquiry or quell the outrage. Will this be a careful cover-up under the guise of an independent investigation? It is expected to report back by early November. Read more detail here

We are also hearing that the attitude of many DELWP employees in the local area is as appalling as we witnessed during the 2014 Goongerah-Deddick fires. We are hearing outrageous stories of DELWP vehicles and contractors bulldozing through people’s private properties, knocking down valuable vegetation and trees that pose no risk, without so much as a g’day. The disrespect is profound. The more work DELWP and contracted bulldozer drivers can find, the better their pay cheque. We seem to be witnessing another replay of the Red Gold incentive running the show, as seen so many times before!

Safer not to burn at all? Report shows burns are ineffective

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lancefield escaped burn 2015Yet again a DELWP burn turned into a catastrophic 3,000 ha bushfire in early October. It burnt most of the Cowbar Forests, much of its wildlife was burnt alive, four homes were lost, as well as sheds, fences and pasture. We are told by DELWP that it didn’t have the resources to ensure this planned burn was blacked out properly. But what is the logic behind burning in the first place?

Petition - Immediate halt to planned burns - review fire management policies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Planned burns can be extremely dangerous and difficult to control. Despite trained personnel, investigations and recommendations for improved fire management over the years, fire, weather and poor judgment still causes major disasters.

The IGEM report released in May acknowledged the ineffectiveness of large scale burns to protect communities. It recommended alternative risk reduction measures believed to be far more effective.

EEG has created an online petition to ask the Premier and Ministers Neville (Environment) and Garret (Emergency Services) to halt more planned burns while a thorough review of the effectiveness of burns is looked into. Please – if you feel as strongly about this as thousands do at the moment – sign and share this online Care2 petition.

We’d love thousands of signatures!

TPP and our environment

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wikileaks released the environment and investment chapters of the TPP earlier in 2014. Instead of a 21st Century standard of protection, the leaked text shows that the obligations are weak and compliance with them is unenforceable.

These chapters do the bidding of multinationals. The investment chapter is written in their favour and the environmental clauses are deliberately worded so they can't be enforced. It spouts sugar coated rhetoric - no legal teeth. Offer of meaningless dispute resolution and chat sessions only.

Vale Ern Mainka Photographer. Obituary by David Tatnall.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Ern learned his skill as a photographer whilst working for Telecom (before it became Telstra) and his overriding love of the natural world led to him taking a redundancy package in the mid 1980’s to devote his time and energy to photographing nature. At that time the forests of Victoria’s East Gippsland were the site of an intense battle for their preservation and protection from clearfell logging and woodchipping. Ern’s photographs played an important part in saving these forests. His photographs were an example of the power of the photographic image.

Ern’s photographs also played an important role in the campaigns for the protection of the Mallee, Victorian Alps, Otway and Central Highlands forests and Murray River Red Gums.

Ern went to enormous lengths to get photographs; he was the first person to photograph Errinundra Plateau’s First Creek Falls. His day and night photographs of a Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) in the Rodger River involved him making one exposure of the fungus in daylight and without moving the camera exposing another piece of film during the night for eight hours while he sat in a sleeping bag nearby to ensure Tiger Quolls or Possums didn’t knock the camera over. Those photographs were published in the Victorian National Parks Association Calendar in 1986.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports that someone had seen Ern’s tent at Frosty Hollow, Waratah Flat or Goonmirk Rocks in East Gippsland and in the weeks following see a group of excited people gathered around the light table in the Environment Centre looking at Ern’s beautiful photographs.

Ern exclusively made colour photographs working with medium format transparency film using 6 x 6 and 6 x 17 cameras. He later went on to use digital cameras, making remarkable atmospheric photographs of storms and lightning, but it’s for his film photographs that he will be best remembered.

Colour transparency film produces the best and most accurate colour and requires great skill to get the exposure correct. Ern used his camera with masterful efficiency making not only beautifully exposed photographs but also beautifully composed photographs.

His photographs live on in many books, magazines calendars and diaries. A great number can still be seen online, including many of the Bend of Islands near Warrandyte, his home for many years.

Over many decades, conservation campaigns benefited greatly from Ern's talent and commitment, and the special places in nature that Ern loved best, and helped save, remain a legacy to his life and a testament to the power of his photographs, many of which remain the finest examples of Australian nature photography.

Thanks to: Jill Redwood, Richard Hughes, Philip Ingamells, Peter Durkin,

David Neilson and Jane Mullett for assistance with this obituary.

David Tatnall.

- See more at: http://thelargeformatblog.com/2015/10/01/vale-ern-mainka-photographer-ob...

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Ern learned his skill as a photographer whilst working for Telecom (before it became Telstra) and his overriding love of the natural world led to him taking a redundancy package in the mid 1980’s to devote his time and energy to photographing nature. At that time the forests of Victoria’s East Gippsland were the site of an intense battle for their preservation and protection from clearfell logging and woodchipping. Ern’s photographs played an important part in saving these forests. His photographs were an example of the power of the photographic image.

Ern’s photographs also played an important role in the campaigns for the protection of the Mallee, Victorian Alps, Otway and Central Highlands forests and Murray River Red Gums.

Ern went to enormous lengths to get photographs; he was the first person to photograph Errinundra Plateau’s First Creek Falls. His day and night photographs of a Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis) in the Rodger River involved him making one exposure of the fungus in daylight and without moving the camera exposing another piece of film during the night for eight hours while he sat in a sleeping bag nearby to ensure Tiger Quolls or Possums didn’t knock the camera over. Those photographs were published in the Victorian National Parks Association Calendar in 1986.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports that someone had seen Ern’s tent at Frosty Hollow, Waratah Flat or Goonmirk Rocks in East Gippsland and in the weeks following see a group of excited people gathered around the light table in the Environment Centre looking at Ern’s beautiful photographs.

Ern exclusively made colour photographs working with medium format transparency film using 6 x 6 and 6 x 17 cameras. He later went on to use digital cameras, making remarkable atmospheric photographs of storms and lightning, but it’s for his film photographs that he will be best remembered.

Colour transparency film produces the best and most accurate colour and requires great skill to get the exposure correct. Ern used his camera with masterful efficiency making not only beautifully exposed photographs but also beautifully composed photographs.

His photographs live on in many books, magazines calendars and diaries. A great number can still be seen online, including many of the Bend of Islands near Warrandyte, his home for many years.

Over many decades, conservation campaigns benefited greatly from Ern's talent and commitment, and the special places in nature that Ern loved best, and helped save, remain a legacy to his life and a testament to the power of his photographs, many of which remain the finest examples of Australian nature photography.

Thanks to: Jill Redwood, Richard Hughes, Philip Ingamells, Peter Durkin,

David Neilson and Jane Mullett for assistance with this obituary.

David Tatnall.

- See more at: http://thelargeformatblog.com/2015/10/01/vale-ern-mainka-photographer-ob...

Ernest Gordon Mainka 1954 – 2014.

The nature conservation and photography communities were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Ern Mainka.

Review of 5% burn target admits failure – plans for more effective risk reduction

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The controversial hectare based burn target of 5% of public land annually was reviewed earlier this year by the Inspector General of Emergency Management. The findings and recommendations were released in April this year and the government is still to announce if it will adopt the recommendations.

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