The Institute of Foresters of Australia is frustrated at the national broadcaster, once again, misrepresenting evidence to support dubious claims, this time in its story about water catchments. The ABC last week reported Melbourne’s drinking water is being put at risk by “widespread” illegal logging near water catchment areas. Source: Timberbiz
It reported the ANU’s Chris Taylor and David Lindenmayer had found 231 hectares of steep slopes in Victoria’s Central Highlands had been clear-felled — an area larger than Melbourne’s Docklands.
VicForests has denied the claims and has said that its harvesting in water catchment areas complied with relevant regulations, including complying with slope limits.
IFA President Bob Gordon has said the ABC report “is unbalanced and is highly speculative”.
“There is an ongoing audit of forest harvesting practices by the Andrews Government which should be allowed to run its course to determine whether any breaches of the law have occurred,” he said.
“The reported evidence does not necessarily support the conclusion that the catchment is at risk and the researchers apparently did not validate their study by actually inspecting logged areas in the field.”
The very small areas of steep slopes that have been harvested as indicated in the report were unlikely to have any long term negative impact on catchment values.
Mr Gordon said the ABC also failed to report that the areas were regenerated back to forest in a short period of time.
“Victoria’s forests and harvesting operations are highly regulated and monitored. Australia’s forests are managed for conservation, recreation and harvest by skilled and informed forest scientists and forest managers,” he said.
“Australia boasts world leading experts on forest fire, forest science and forest management and I encourage the ABC to ask the experts.”