Victoria scraps Barmah National Park river red gum logging trial

A contentious plan to cut down river red gums in the Barmah National Park, on the border of Victoria and NSW, has been scrapped by the Victorian government.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage had planned to trial an “ecological thinning” of the forest, to see if it would improve the red gums’ health.

The proposed trial was to cover 22 sites over 400 hectares.

A report on the forest’s health said there were limited alternatives to preserve the river red gums, which are under severe stress.

But the DEPI has pulled out of the proposal to fell trees. A letter sent by land management policy executive director Peter Beaumont to advocacy group Friends of the Earth confirmed the decision.

He said the government would continue to work with NSW to determine “appropriate strategies” to ensure the gums’ long-term health.

Will Mooney from Friends of the Earth applauded the decision by the Victorian government and called on the NSW government to follow suit. He said the plan could lead to a return of logging in the park.

“The current proposal was way too big [and] the science behind it was unfounded,” he said. “Our major concern was that it reflected the agenda of pro-logging interest groups.”

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