Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Otway Rainforest Campaign
The Otways experience.

Otway Rainforest to be protected

Over the past decade, conservationists has focused on Otway Cool Temperate Rainforests and the issue of protecting rainforest from logging practices. Conservationists have lobbied hard for rare Otways rainforests to be protected in a National Park and succeeded.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council has recommended all Rainforest Sites of Significance currently in State forest be protected within an expanded Otway National Park.

After the November 2002 state election, all logging in Rainforest Sites of Significance was halted along with other rainforest stands on the southern face of the Otways and in the Geelong water supply catchment area.

For rainforest in areas where logging will continue until 2008, conservationists have succeeded in getting rainforest buffers increased from 40 meters to 60 meters.

When all logging ends in 2008, the small amount of Otway rainforest still outside the national park will no longer be threatened by logging practices.

Conservationists continue to lobby the government to avoid logging near rainforest where possible.

Rainforest Campaign Background

The catalyst for concern for Otway rainforest occured when Forestry Victoria (the government department responsible for logging in Victoria) attempted to suppress critical research into a rainforest dieback disease called Myrtle Wilt which was at epidemic levels in the Otways. Department staff feared that results of this research could expose problems with logging and call into question the effectiveness of the narrow buffers used to protect rainforest from the impact of clearfell logging.

See Department suppression of the Cameron & Turner Myrtle Wilt report.

The Otway rainforest campaign reached its climax in April 2001 when conservationists and local residents set up a forest protest to stop what they believed to be illegal logging at rainforest in State Forest at Ciancio Creek, a National Rainforest Sites of Significance (Aire -Youngs Creek RSOS).

About a dozen people were arrested but pleaded not guilty, arguing that the logging was illegal because the rainforest buffers outlined in the Code of Forest Practices for Timber Harvesting were not being implemented. The department was only applying 40 metre buffers, while the statutory requirements of the Code required 60 metre buffers.

See Ciancio Creek campaign.

In January 2003 a Geelong County Court Judge found logging in the Otways at Ciancio Creek was unlawful and in breach of the Code of Forest Practices. Charges against the protestors were dropped. See more.

The Otways Ciancio Creek rainforest campaign and court case highlighted the fact that Forestry Victoria were not apply the rainforest buffers requirements outlined in the Code of Forest Practices.

Logging never resumed at Ciancio Creek and now this area along with all Otway Rainforest Sites of Significance will now be incorporated into a new expanded Otways National Park.

See more about new Otways National Park

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