Very high conservation values of Rubicon and Marysville State Forests confirmed by latest Victorian Government report
Media Release by Ken Deacon, Convenor of Rubicon Forest Protection Group - 16 March 2017
The Rubicon Forest Protection Group (more about RFPG here) has today welcomed the report released on 7 March by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) confirming the very high conservation values of the Rubicon and Marysville State Forests alongside many other areas of State Forest that are open to timber harvesting.
On almost all reported measures these forests rank high or very high on the classification scales presented in the VEAC report. The Report also clearly shows the extensive areas of ash forest in these State Forests that were killed by the 2009 fires. Over the past two years the forests of the Central Forest Management Area have provided well over half of all ash forest areas logged, despite containing only around a quarter of the ash forest areas open to logging.
“The extraordinary scale and intensity of current logging in the Rubicon State Forest, combined with the extensive impacts of the 2009 fires, are jeopardising the natural values and environmental services, especially biodiversity” said Ken Deacon, Convenor of the RFPG.
Mr Deacon has lived nearby and worked in these forests for almost 40 years and in recent times has seen much of this area of astonishing beauty and profound biodiversity utterly devastated by clearfell logging.
Figures the RFPG has obtained from VicForests under Freedom of Information, and from other Government sources, clearly show the extent of over-logging that has occurred in these forests (more facts and figures here).
“There is certainly not enough ash forest left in the Central Highlands to support the continuing operation of the ASH timber mill at Heyfield at current levels without sacrificing the remaining natural values these majestic forests have to offer all Victorians, indeed national and international visitors alike” Mr Deacon said.
For the past year the RFPG has been calling on VicForests and the Government to suspend logging of all as yet unlogged coupes at the northern end of Rubicon State Forest as an immediate protection area pending Government decisions on timber supplies for the ASH mill at Heyfield.
RFPG also urges the Government to provide interim protection for a large number of proposed coupes at the southern end of the Rubicon State Forest to safeguard the Mt Bullfight nature conservation reserve and ensure the long-term survival of the magnificent Antarctic Beech rainforest in the headwaters of the Rubicon and Royston Rivers.