VicForests accepts investigation outcomes
VicForests has accepted the outcomes of an investigation by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) into allegations that rainforest was harvested in East Gippsland.
The investigation was unable to conclusively determine whether the Code of Practice for Timber Production had been breached in an area already harvested but acknowledged VicForests complied with the Code by protecting and identifying an area of rainforest and ensuring no impact on waterways.
Concerns were raised over three separate areas on the one site and while the site currently looks ugly we believe there was no breach of Victoria’s harvesting regulations.
All rainforest stands are protected from harvesting with buffers placed on any rainforest stand larger than 0.2 of a hectare.
We take any allegation linked to our operations very seriously.
Our own internal investigation into this issue found the site was assessed in detail prior to harvesting with an area of rainforest identified and protected in line with the regulations.
A second area, which has been harvested, was also assessed by our staff before operations began and was found not to meet the criteria for rainforest.
Regulations in place to protect permanent waterways were applied correctly on the site.
We have committed to looking at additional measures which can be put in place to avoid unnecessary damage to smaller areas containing species typically found in rainforest.
There were some trees unnecessarily pushed over as part of this operation and we will be reviewing our Operating Procedures to ensure we improve our practices in the future.
VicForests acknowledges that DELWP was unable to be definitive regarding the allegation of a breach in the area and as a result of this investigation we will work with our contractors to improve our practices.
While we believe the operation complied with the regulations, we accept that better care should have been taken in this instance.
To view the breach allegation and investigation reports please go to our Investigations page under the Forest Management section of the website.
Further investigations at the site
There is currently another DELWP investigation under way at this site. There have been claims made that the area being harvested contains old growth forest.
To ensure DELWP’s investigation can be conducted without interruption, we have agreed to cease harvesting at the site until all inquiries have been completed.
Member for Indi joins VicForests for field trip
The Member for Indi, Cathy Mc Gowan, recently attended a field trip hosted by VicForests in the Central Highlands.
Ms McGowan was very interested in the issues presented on the day.
Nathan Trushell, VicForests’ General Manager Planning presented the challenges and opportunities facing the native timber industry in Victoria.
VicForests’ Forest Scientist, Michael Ryan, also attended and walked Ms McGowan through the lifecycle of forestry from planning and protecting special environmental values, through to the harvesting and regrowing of the forest.
Research and Monitoring Seminar
VicForests Forest Scientist, Michael Ryan and VicForests Conservation Biologist, Dr Chela Powell, presented a lecture at Creswick last week.
The presentation, which is part of the University of Melbourne School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences (SEFS) seminar series, was titled “Research and Monitoring in Victoria’s State Forests”.
Victoria’s state forests are managed in accordance with some of the world’s highest standards of forest management. Areas available for timber harvesting are subject to a comprehensive regulatory framework that enforces a range of restrictions on operations.
However, adhering to the legislative requirements governing available forest areas is only one element of sustainable forest management.
Research and monitoring are also fundamental components of good forest management, as science-based decision making should be at the forefront when considering forest practices and the best way in which to manage forest values.
Forest research and monitoring is an integral component for developing successful conservation outcomes, meeting societal demands and ensuring harvesting practices are in line with sustainable forest management principles, while also ensuring that there will be a timber resource for future generations.
Therefore VicForests has acknowledged that it is their responsibility to add to the existing knowledge pool, either through contribution to research programs run by other organisations, or by undertaking its own programs.
This talk outlined the key biodiversity and forest science research and monitoring projects that VicForests are currently taking part in across Victoria’s state forest.
Community Support Program 2015 opens
VicForests encourages all eligible community groups and services to make an application to this year’s Community Support Program, before its deadline at close of business Friday 12, 2015.
The Community Support Program has been designed by VicForests to assist regional community groups and services who are working to positively contribute to their local area.
Since we started the program in 2010, we’ve helped more than 150 community groups and services and have provided more than $260,000 in grants and funding across the Central Highlands, Gippsland and East Gippsland regions.
One of the 2014 grants has assisted Healesville gymnastics team, Splits and Flips, to buy much needed training equipment for their competition preparation.
Another recipient of last year’s Community Support Program was an indigenous group who has used their grant to provide conservation and natural resource management training.
Our support program is very important to regional communities and to us. Our staff live and work in regional Victoria and contributing to local community groups and services is just part of what we do.
The Community Support Program assists organisations that contribute to the wellbeing of local communities by providing grants of up to $2000 to organisations such as charity groups, sporting groups, educational and community groups located across the Central Highlands, Gippsland and East Gippsland regions.
The Victorian forestry industry plays a key role in building and supporting rural and regional communities through its business activities and by sponsoring local community events and activities.
Alternatively you can download an application form and send to the email provided on form. The last date for applications isFriday June 12 at 5pm.
For more information please contact Liz Langford on 5969 9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
VicForests attends community events
VicForests staff attended the East Gippsland field days and the Steiner School in Yarra Junction as part of its commitment to local community.
At the East Gippsland field day staff responded to questions, providing an opportunity for people to find out more about VicForests’ operations.
Thanks to VicForests staff, Zach Dormon, Mick Stormer and JP Morice for sharing their expertise and taking the time to help out.
VicForests staff also accompanied a group of students from the Steiner School in Yarra Junction on a field visit to the forests around Powelltown to learn how VicForests plans and conducts operations.
The coupe visit was a highlight with students being shown exactly how everything happens on ground. Seeing the trees being felled was watched with great interest.
Colin Robbins and his crew provided a great opportunity for questions and discussion, and highlighted what is contributed to the local economy.
The students also viewed regenerating forests and were given an overview of the entire cycle of forestry.