Comprehensive Adequate Representative(CAR) reserve system
With the signing of the West RFA , a new reserve system was implemented
within the Otways State forest called the Comprehensive Adequate Representative(CAR)
reserve system. Link
The CAR reserve system on paper is meant to protect
all biodiversity values in the Otways from logging practices based on
best scientific information. However if scientific research
into the impact logging has on other forest values is not done then decreased
levels of protection are what occur.
The CAR reserve system has three land use zones.
No pre-logging Flora and Fauna surveys
Only the flora and fauna within the CAR reserve
systems will be protected. All flora and fauna outside the CAR reserve
system will be destroyed by intensive logging practices. There is no plan
to do public pre-logging flora and fauna surveys to determine what endangered
species may be lost or put at risk during logging operations.
CAR Reserve system lacks scientific credibility.
The Design of CAR reserve system can best be
summed up as being incomplete and poorly designed. A major reason for
the poor design is a lack of scientific research of Otway biodiversity
All Victorian RFA's including the West RFA recognise
the completion of Action Statements as being
the foundation in providing management strategies to protect endanger
species from logging practices. (See Section 48,55,56 57 58,59 and Attachment
2, West RFA.)
The failure to complete Action Statements
means the CAR Reserve System is based on poor
and insufficient information. The public will not accept a twenty year
plan to continue logging that is based on a poor understanding of the
impacts logging has on threatened species.
The releasing of biodiversity research is needed to develop public knowledge
and opinion. Informed public opinion encourages the Government to fund
further research and make informed management decisions.
It is the strong view of OREN members that research
is suppressed by Forestry Victoria to hide the damage logging practices
have on Otway biodiversity values. Case studies that demonstrate the failure
of DNRE to release research and management recommendations include:
- the suppression of research. Link
- the failure to complete action statements as required by the Flora
and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Link
- and failure to protect Rainforest Sites of Significance. Link
Special Protection Zones (SPZ)
Otway SPZ's are reserves where logging is not permitted. In the Otways
the SPZ reserves consist of land already recognised under the Otway Forest
Management Plan and areas already excluded from logging under the Code
of Forest Practices. Some additional SPZ reserves have been added due
to the recorded presence of Tiger Quolls.
Existing Otway SPZ's have a high proportion of heathland, non commercial
timber species and already logged areas. Only
a small proportion of tall
mountain forests(wet) are protected in permanent reserves and SPZ's.
SPZ,s are temporary reserves
SPZ are not legally gazetted reserves covered by the Crown Lands Reserves
Act. An SPZ can be revoked and made available for logging at any time
by the State government Minister. For example, SPZ at Hensleigh creek
in East Gippsland has already been rezoned for logging in East Gippsland.
As far as the native forest logging industry is concerned, the reserve
systems established under the West RFA process sets the maximum extent
biodiversity values will be protected in the Otways no matter what further
research or discoveries are made.
If new conservation values are found in areas available for logging that
merit protection, that area can be made an SPZ but must be swapped with
another SPZ so there is no net loss in log resource.
Recent debate in State parliament by opposition parties(12/6/02) indicates
if they were elected then re-zoning of SPZ areas for logging when pressured
by the native forest logging industry would be a regular occurrence. See
State government hansard.
Special Management Zones (SMZ)
An SMZ is an area with special values that gets extra consideration before
logging is permitted. There are nine SMZ regions in the Otways. The main
consideration in allocating SMZ's has been the presence of Tiger
Some Otway SMZ maps.
Note: Not all Otway SMZ maps are shown here.
/ East Barham River area
The West Regional Forest Agreement, Discussion Paper recommends SMZ
Plans(See page 48 Table 3.4 Consultation Paper) but this recommendation
was dropped from the final West RFA documentation. Despite this, Forestry
Victoria have indicated SMZ plans will be put together after the Tiger
Quoll Action Statement is completed. Before
an SMZ can be logged, an SMZ plan needs to be drawn up that will provide
prescriptions to protect endangered species such as Tiger Quolls. See
Tiger Quoll SMZ plans.
It is unknown if SMZ plans will be completed for each SMZ. It is also
unknown if any public participation will be allowed to influence the design
of SMZ prescriptions
Public Pressure resulted in more Otways SMZ.
When the draft West RFA was released, there were only four SMZ areas
in the Otways. Public pressure increased the number of SMZs by five to
a total of nine. At least three of the additional SMZ were created by
the controversy created by the suppression of a report about the significance
of the the tiger quoll (Link)
and the constant press articles in the Age about the endangered status
of the quoll. Community protests against logging in the Cumberland
river catchment and at Riley's
Ridge enabled those areas to be also placed within an SMZ.
Logging on Hold in Otway SMZ's
Since March 2000 after the signing the West RFA there has been no clearfell
logging in Otways SMZ's. There is no logging planned until 2003/2004 logging
season. The delays are due to:
- Ongoing community vigilance
- Delays in finalising the revised Tiger Quoll Action Statement
- Tiger Quoll SMZs plans on hold until the release of the revised Tiger
Quoll Action Statement
West RFA protected a small amount of wet mountain forest
The West RFA did an analysis of vegetation classes and listed the percentages
of wet forests that would be protected within permanent reserves (wet
forest and shrubby wet forests).
There was originally about 90,000 ha of wet mountain forests in the Otways.
Of this 20% has been cleared after European settlement and converted to
pasture or plantations. Of the remaining wet forests, only 21% is within
permanent legislated reserves(or 16.6% relative to pre-European settlement).
Almost 50% of remaining wet forests are directly available for logging
on public land for which much has already been clearfell logged. About
20% of remnant wet forests is on private land. A high proportion of private
wet forest is subject to unsustainable levels of logging by local sawmills.
About half of the wet forests within the Otway National Park were clearfell
logged before logging was halted in 1985. According to the West RFA Discussion
Paper (Page 43) there is 46 square kilometres of cleared and several disturbed
land within existing legislated conservation reserves that would otherwise
be wet forest.