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VicForests fights back at protestors

After protestors stationed themselves at a live VicForests harvesting site in far East Gippsland recently they put themselves, and workers, at risk and caused timber harvesting operations to be suspended. Source: Timberbiz

This harvesting is part of ongoing operations that occur following a multi-layered planning process that considers the management of the many environmental and other values present in the forest.

This operations are important to meeting the increasing demand for timber in Victoria.

This sort of action by protest groups impacts many jobs in regional Victoria and in this case eight local employees needed to be stood down for the duration of this suspension.

The protestors were escorted from the area by authorised officers and operations recommenced safely.

These types of protests are not necessarily those of the local community as VicForests spends considerable effort in consultation and environmental management.

“…harvesting is part of ongoing operations that occur following a multi-layered planning process that considers the management of the many environmental and other values present in the forest,” Bill Paul, VicForests Community Forestry Manager said.

“Over the last few years, VicForests has met with local community members on many occasions to better understand their concerns and explain our process.

“As a result of this engagement, we have agreed to use a significantly low intensity harvesting method in the Strathbogies known as single-tree selection.

“Single-tree selection only removes around 50 per cent of trees in the planned area and leaves behind trees of varying ages to either grow larger or provide habitat for native species.

“Last year Arthur Rylah Institute conducted surveys looking for threatened species including Greater Gliders and VicForests used this survey information to guide our harvest plans.

“Following this, our Conservation Biologist spent three days walking the area with a conservation focus and individually marking trees to ensure best available habitat is protected for the Greater Glider.

“Once harvesting commences our Conservation Biologist will spend one day a week ensuring the contractor is applying appropriate protection measures for the Glider.

“It is important that we balancing environmental conservation with the demand for timber products.

“VicForests believes in the right for anyone to protest, however the people who protest against VicForests’ harvesting operations, do not necessarily represent the views of wider Victorian public.

“We are working with relevant government agencies and our contractors to resolve this situation.”