An inquiry is slowly cranking up into how many trees really are out there, compared to how many the government have promised. Meanwhile, important areas of acknowledged conservation value are being clearfelled to meet the demands of the logging industry.
Dingo Creek could become the next icon area to fight for. NRE knows it and wants to destroy it quickly.
The latest in this long line of contentious logging ‘mistakes’ is at Dingo Creek, which adjoins the northern end of the Errinundra National Park. This is part of a much larger area in the headwaters of the East Errinundra River. It is the largest patch of rainforest in the state and has very high National Significance when assessed under 18 criteria for rainforest values. The northern end acts as an essential buffer in the event of a fire coming in from the north (side of greatest threat). It consists of a healthy intact mosaic of rainforest, mixed rainforest and old growth. Should this be transformed into more thick eucalypt regrowth, it will instead become a tinder box assisting wildfire to incinerate the core area of rainforest inside the park. Dingo Creek catchment also has healthy populations of possums and gliders in the old growth trees above the rainforest. The endangered Powerful and Sooty owls have been recorded and it is also likely that the threatened Spot-tailed Quoll inhabits these dense forests. Small diggings have been found, which indicate underground fungi – the food of the endangered Long-footed Potoroo.
Clearfell management for SOS
The Sassafras dominated cool temperate rainforest was designated a Site Of Significance in the 80s. In fact, photographs from this area have been used in the Department’s propaganda on rainforest protection (see photo above). The bulk of this site is inside the Errinundra National Park and is protected. However, Dingo Creek was unfortunate enough to miss out on the protective dotted line. Under the NRE’s logging plans, it was instead designated a Special Management Zone – to be ‘specially’ logged. The logging prescriptions show it is to be clearfelled as any other forest, despite it being acknowledged as a rainforest SOS and privileged by a (meaningless) SMZ green patch on the map.
Protesters recently spent three weeks trying to prevent this ancient forest >from being churned into the mud. NRE were determined to ensure a large area was destroyed before Dingo Creek gained attention. However, rain, knee-deep mud and the constant hindering of clearfelling operations won out. Lock-ons and tree-sits were used to slow the logging. Seven people were arrested in the process and protesters vow to go in again should logging resume in Spring.
If this area is not reassessed and given full protection, the conservation movement and public will be forced to enact our own ‘Special Management’ to protect this area. As this area has national values, it promises to be a National issue.