The Toolangi community and forest conservationists are celebrating the exit of logging machines from forest next to Tanglefoot picnic ground, and the removal of a logging coupe within the Valley of Giants from VicForests immediate logging schedule.
This is a massive win to protect the main tourist destinations and vital habitat for Leadbeater’s possum within the fragmented forest of Toolangi.
However, VicForests has moved logging machinery into another precious area of Victoria’s Central Highlands. Logging is threatening Hermitage Creek in the Toolangi state forest, right next to the iconic Black Spur Tourist Drive in threatened Greater Glider habitat.
The logging of ‘Kings’ coupe in Hermitage Creek is shocking for many reasons:
- The Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio’s Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) was made aware in June that logging coupes in this area contain a high density of Greater gliders that are listed as a threatened species and require protection by law (see the Flora and Fauna Research Collective report).
- The coupe is very close to reserve for rare cool temperate rainforest
- The coupe lies off Victoria's iconic Black Spur Tourist Drive, known as one of the State's best drives and a major tourist destination.
- The coupe is almost adjacent to small regional businesses that depend on the relatively pristine state of surrounding forests to remain viable, such as Highwood Health Retreat and Woodlands Rainforest Retreat, and nearby the Black Spur Inn.
Greater gliders need protection now
Greater Gliders are Australia’s largest gliding marsupial and Victoria’s latest threatened species. Last month the Greater Glider was officially listed as a threatened and protected species under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
But logging in Greater Glider habitat is continuing with no protections. Only a few weeks ago, logging was carried out in the Acheron Valley near Warburton where 19 Greater glider detections had been reported to DELWP.
The governments own Scientific Advisory Committee has recommended that an Interim Conservation Order be used by the Environment Minister to urgently protect Greater Gliders from logging due to their drastic decline. The Committee's final recommendation to list the Glider as a threatened species noted that Gliders die if their home ranges are logged.
A Greater glider
We can protect these forests
The last several weeks have seen the community and conservationists working together incredibly effectively to protect special areas being logged in the Central Highlands.
While VicForests official line is that logging has halted in 'Floater' coupe near Tanglefoot so that infrastructure can 'settle' (we're not sure about that either) the pull out of the machines followed weeks of community pressure including knit-ins and walks organised by Knitting Nannas of Toolangi, Friends of Leadbeater's Possum and Newlands Friends of the Forest, the detection of a Leadbeater's possum near the coupe by Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH), and heaps of support from many others in the conservation community.
Meanwhile, tours were carried out at 'South Col' coupe by above mentioned groups and Little Red Toolangi Treehouse in the Valley of Giants - where logging was scheduled right near the Kalatha Giant (a 300 - 400 year old tree) - and WOTCH got in another Leadbeater's possum detection right at the entry of the coupe, which has led to the delay of logging while VicForests figure out an alternative way in. This gives us time to ramp things up and ensure the last valley of giant trees left in Toolangi - high conservation value forest and prime Leadbeater's habitat - is not logged at all.
It also shows that we can stop the logging if we work together and ramp up the pressure!
A walk in Tanglefoot during the Knitting Nanna's knit in.
Don't let the logging continue!
Logging in Hermitage Creek, can be stopped.
We've been in touch with the office of Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio this week and they've taken steps in the right direction to temporarily halt the logging while a decision on the future of this important habitat is made. We are hopeful the Minister will take strong action to protect the Greater Glider and logging will be stood down for good.
Stay tuned, and in the mean time please encourage the Minister to make the right decision and protect this special area.
Call the office of the Minister and leave a message with the person who answers the phone. Just say you’re ringing with a message for the Minister, that you’re concerned about logging in Greater glider habitat in Hermitage Creek, Toolangi and that more coupes are planned for this area, and request her to intervene urgently to ensure logging does not proceed.
Minister D’Ambrosio’s office: (03) 9637 9504
They will probably ask you to follow up with a quick email: lily.d’firstname.lastname@example.org
You can use social media to ask the minister to intervene (for instance you can re-tweet our posts from FoE twitter) or share FoE Melbourne's Facebook post, write your own post, tag environment minister Lily D'AmbrosioMP and premier Daniel Andrews and use the hashtag #SaveHermitageCreek.
Join the amazing bunch protecting our forests
The Friends of the Earth Forest Collective meets 6.30pm every second Thursday upstairs at FoE. This is where forest groups, campaigners and new folks who want to get involved can come along, get updated, share information and coordinate plans. We'd love to see you there! Come along to our next meeting on Thursday 27 July or get in touch with me (Sarah Day - email@example.com) for more information.