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ABC: Satellite AI analysis finds thousands of hectares of 'magnificent forests' in Victoria that haven't regenerated after logging
For decades, chainsaws have ripped through the native forests of south-east Australia. Across Australia, Victoria’s forests have been logged more than any other mainland state over the past two decades. Now the state is shutting its native logging industry in a matter of weeks, and the forests that were once given to Victoria’s state-run logging agency, VicForests, are being returned to the public.
Sixty Victorian not-for-profit organisations have written to Premier Jacinta Allan and Treasurer Tim Pallas to urge them to abolish state-owned logging business VicForests. They say the organisation has outlived its purpose and lost public support. "VicForests has systematically breached the public's trust and abjectly failed Victorians on every measure — economically, socially and environmentally"
A Supreme Court justice has ordered VicForests to temporarily halt the harvesting of fallen trees at a site in Victoria's west, after a community group alleged it had not surveyed for threatened species. Wombat Forestcare began court proceedings last week seeking an injunction for the site in Wombat State Forest, alleging VicForests had not checked the area for species of owls, quolls and reptiles.
Victoria’s state-owned logging business is on the verge of being dismantled and absorbed into other areas of the bureaucracy after the state government reclassified it and announced a review of its operations. VicForests has been under financial pressure after recording a $52.4 million loss in the 2021-22 financial year, blaming legal battles that had stopped it from logging and forced it to pay compensation to clients for missed orders.
ABC: Alpine coupes earmarked for forestry could be bulldozed before Victoria's end of year native logging ban
Environmental groups are calling on VicForests to abandon logging plans in the state's alpine region after endangered native plants were found near the earmarked sites. Five threatened plant species were seen at several coupes near Mount Stirling by surveyors from the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) and the Victorian Forest Alliance.
VicForests hired a private investigator to spy on environmental campaigners and an academic, an investigation by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) has found. The investigation was sparked by an ABC report in 2021, in which a private investigator blew the whistle on his alleged spying work for the state government-owned logging agency.
Just as research has shown the health benefits of being in nature, the Victorian government has allowed its parks to fall into disrepair. A Cranbourne family arrives at a Rubicon campsite to find a thicket of blackberry weeds adjoining a power station. A park ranger’s job is reduced to cleaning toilets. A Preston couple can’t find a parking spot at Warburton, where traffic to Mount Donna Buang is choked, and a bike trail plan divides the community.
Victorian authorities are investigating allegations critically endangered trees were illegally cleared in the state's Central Highlands. One specimen photographed buried under a pile of bulldozed flora is believed to be hundreds of years old.
The Conversation: We can't just walk away after the logging stops in Victoria's native forests. Here's what must happen next
By the end of this year, native forest logging will cease in Victoria. Now begins a long and difficult process to recover vast areas of forest after more than 50 years of clearfelling and other destructive logging practices. The supply of sawlogs in Victoria was close to being exhausted, and the state’s logging industry had long been financially unviable. Restoring the forest offers the opportunity to put something better in its place.
The Guardian: Ending native forest logging in Victoria is long overdue. Australia must protect its precious trees
By the end of the year, Victoria’s trouble-plagued native forest industry will end – six years ahead of schedule. The state’s mountain ash forests and endangered wildlife will at last be safe from chainsaws. And there will be no shortage of wood – there’s more than enough plantation timber to fill the gap.