Toolangi forests – the green hole in the black donut

You’da thunk VicForests might have learnt something from the Brown Mountain case. Nup. It’s in court again, this time with another group. Environment group, MyEnvironment, is suing them to stop them logging a stand of known Leadbeaters Possum habitat at Sylvia Creek. The Sylvia Creek case will be heard on Feb 6 at Melbourne’s Supreme Court.

Leadbeater's possumThe Yellowdindi Rd forests in the Central Highlands’ Toolangi area was blockaded for a few days, but logging has now continued. Not surprisingly, the rare Powerful Owl and many gliders were identified in this mature stand of grey gum and mountain ash by volunteers.

Toolangi forest has recently gained the nickname ‘the green hole in the black donut’. It is a comparatively small area of unburnt forest, making it a rare sanctuary for many critically endangered birds and mammals whose populations were severely knocked out by the fires.

Many of these animals, such as the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Sooty and Powerful Owls, need mature forests and tree hollows. Trees 120+ years old are the most valuable but are becoming rare. And with so many old trees destroyed by the fires, Toolangi’s forests provide a much-needed refuge for these species. Logging is the main cause for the grim decline in the hollow-dependent wildlife.

Locals also fear that more clearfell logging in the area will increase the risk of fires. The huge mess of wood waste left behind is dangerously flammable, and the thick mono-species regeneration is extremely combustible. The mature, multi-storied, damp cool forests are less fire prone.

News in: VF could be moving in to log on the edge of the Yarra Ranges National Park – the western flanks of Mount St Leonard! These forests contain Leadbeaters monitoring sites. Pretty cheeky and possibly timed it to coincide with the court case!

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