VicForests has credit extended

THE financial woes of the state government’s commercial forestry arm VicForests have deepened, with it forced to go back to Treasury for a bigger loan.

VicForests’ line of credit with Treasury has doubled in three years, from $12.5 million in 2009 to $25 million this year, as the company struggles with cash-flow problems.

The deepening financial problems at VicForests follow the release of a report by forestry consultants URS, commissioned by Treasury, which found the company cannot manage its costs.

In response to ...

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Activists attack sustainability claim

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have made corporate Australia their number one target as they ramp up pressure on the producers of the top paper brand Reflex to stop using timber logged from native forests.

The battle between the Wilderness Society and Australian Paper has spilled into cyberspace: last week the company convinced Google to stop showing advertisements for the environmental organisation’s ”ethical paper” campaign.

Wilderness Society activists are planning to target Reflex stockists, including Wesfarmers’ subsidiaries Officeworks and Coles and new US entrant ...

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Google accused of papering over ads

GOOGLE has been accused of stifling free speech after it banned an ad attacking a paper manufacturer over its environmental record.

The Wilderness Society paid to have its ad on Google promoting a boycott against a paper manufacturer that uses wood sourced from Australian old-growth forests.

When web users typed into Google the words ”office paper”, ”office stationery” or the brand names Australian Paper and Reflex, a link to the Wilderness Society’s website, Ethical Paper, would appear at the top of the ...

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Aboriginal burn-off theory hosed down

Bushfire

Aboriginal Australians may not have influenced bushfire occurance, according to a new report.

Aboriginal Australians didn’t regularly use fire to manage the bush claims a new study, but experts aren’t convinced.

TRADITIONAL THEORY SUGGESTS THAT Australian Aborigines have regularly burned-off the bush as a method to manage the landscape over the last 50,000 years. But an analysis ...

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Indigenous burn control a myth: study

New research puts paid to the belief that Aboriginal people used fire on a large scale to control vegetation across Australia.

The research team, who published their findings in the latest edition of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, examined charcoal records dating back 70,000 years at 223 sites across Australasia.

Lead researcher Dr Scott Mooney, from the University of New South Wales, says the research shows Aborigines were using fire at a local scale, but not with the major impact that some ...

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Cold water is poured on Aboriginal burnoff culture

The popular notion that Aborigines carried out widespread burning of the Australian landscape is a myth, research shows.

A study of charcoal records has found that the arrival of the first Australians about 50,000 years ago did not result in significantly greater fire activity across the continent.

An international team of scientists led by Scott Mooney, of the University of NSW, analysed results from more than 220 sites in Australasia dating back 70,000 years, the most comprehensive survey so far.

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Labor’s climate enemies within

Will Michael O’Connor, powerful forestry division secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, block an effective Australian response to climate change?

It’s a worry for our economy because O’Connor is a key figure behind the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and soft left factional allies Martin Ferguson and Penny Wong – who, for one more day at least, control the portfolios that really matter: energy, water and climate.

O’Connor helped both Gillard and Ferguson into Parliament. In her maiden speech, Gillard ...

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Logging could boost fire risk: study

Large-scale logging could increase bushfire risk for Australia’s moist mountain ash forests, creating bigger fuel loads and drier, more combustible conditions, new research says.

A world-first study led by Australian National University ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer has found gaps in the forest canopy allow the forest floor to dry out, increasing flammability by as much as 50 per cent in some cases.

The team looked at the impacts of industrial logging in moist forests across the world, including tropical rainforest, North America ...

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Firefighters demand climate change action

Firefighters have demanded federal politicians stop treating climate change like “a political football” and pass the emissions trading scheme.

Members of the United Firefighters Union of Australia have travelled to Parliament House today to urge both sides of politics to take action as senators continue to debate the scheme.

The union made a similar call for action in the wake of February’s devastating Victorian bushfires and Peter Marshall has today repeated the call as parts of South Australia are now declared ...

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Declared forests turn out to be paddocks

Nearly 40 per cent of old-growth forest earmarked for protection by the State Government since the 2006 election has been found instead to be young regrowth, poor quality vegetation and cleared paddocks. 

A survey by green groups found that about 15,000 hectares of Gippsland forest that the Government planned to turn into national park and conservation reserves was of no value to the timber industry and had comparatively little environmental value. 

The survey findings come as the Government engages in a protracted ...

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