New data confirm rate of logging in Central Highlands is unsustainable!

New data made available to the Rubicon Forest Protection Group (RFPG) confirm earlier analysis demonstrating that the current rate of logging in the Central Highlands is Unsustainable!

At the current rate of logging there will be no ash forest in the Central FMA left to log by 2025. Purely in terms of timber harvesting the Andrews government has abrogated its responsibility to future generations.  However, giving due weight to ecological, scenic, historic and tourist values, the current rate of logging is vandalism on an epic scale.  Details here.

RFPG calls for:

  • an immediate moratorium on logging in the Northern section of the Rubicon State Forest;
  • urgent amendment of the current Allocation Order that permits VicForests to continue to harvest at unsustainable levels in particular forest management areas;
  • urgent revision of the Code of Forest Practice which provides the loop holes through which hundreds of log trucks drive every hour.

The scale and intensity of current logging in the Rubicon State Forest and the Central FMA generally, on top of the 2009 fires, are jeopardising forest values and environmental services, especially biodiversity and tourism.

RFPG has now obtained up-to-date statistics from VicForests which indicate that, at the current rate of logging, the harvestable supply in both the Central Highlands RFA and the Central FMA will be exhausted in less than a decade.  It will be another 15-20 years after that before sufficient ash becomes available to recommence logging. From a simple long-term timber supply perspective, current harvesting levels are clearly not sustainable.

However, if all the values that these forests offer are to be protected, especially given the devastating Black Saturday fires, harvesting will need to be dramatically lower than currently levels. If tourism and ecological values were taken into consideration there would have to be a complete moratorium on logging in Rubicon State Forest.

Our analysis is summarised in Table 1, here.

The current Allocation Order that permits VicForests to continue to harvest at the current unsustainable level needs to be amended urgently (Jaala Pulford is the responsible minister).  Any new Allocation Order must specify harvesting limits at the FMA level, as well as by ash and mixed species forest types.  This change would ensure that overcutting in particular FMAs cannot again occur.

The Code of Forest Practice includes reference to important considerations in forest conservation.  However these principles are not specified in such a way as to ensure that they govern logging practice.

The Regional Forest Agreements which provide the Commonwealth’s blessing of state level forest destruction need to be drastically revised or pulped.

Projected exhaustion of mountain ashharvesting in Central FMA, Central Highlands RFA, and State-wide.