Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Forestry Victoria ignores key scientific advice

Forestry ignores the advice from the Flora & Fauna Unit.

In March 1990 the results of the rainforest Flora and Fauna Survey Group were provided to the government within an internal memorandum of understanding titled Timber harvesting within Sites of Significance for rainforest. Flora and Fauna Survey Group, CFL , (86/737, 89/794). The memorandum nominated 10 proposed RSOS for the Otways and provided advice that logging should not take place within any RSOS.

In June 1992 the Otway Forest Management Plan (OFMP) acknowledged the ten proposed RSOS outlined in the memorandum. However forestry and the State government ignored the expert advice from the Flora and Fauna Survey Group by not providing any protection for RSOS located within State Forest. Instead only the core rainforest areas within the Youngs Creek and Clearwater creek RSOS were placed into rainforest conservation zones.

The OFMP acknowledges that rainforest conservation zones do not provide the same level of protection as RSOS within existing parks and reserves. Rather the two rainforest conservation zones "complement the significant rainforest sites within the parks and reserves system."

Extract from the Otway Forest Management Plan:

Section 6.2.1
Two larger rainforest conservation areas within the Youngs Creek and Clearwater Creek sites of significance have been delineated as shown on Map 11. These areas represent the practical application of the Code of Forest Practices' provisions and consideration of the environmental, social and economic and operational factors. The establishment of these areas recognises the range of values that led to the classification of the sites and their protection and the effect on all other forest values applicable to the Otway FMA, including timber production. These two State forest conservation areas provide representation of the dynamic ecological balance between the stands of rainforest and their surrounding eucalypt forests, and complement the significant rainforest sites within the parks and reserves system.

Forestry ignores advice from independent experts

Issues surrounding the management of RSOS are raised in chapter 10 of the report titled "Rainforest in Victoria: A Review of the Scientific Basis of Current and Proposed Protection Measures" by Mark Burgman. This report warned that the government and forestry managers could anticipate that if government followed though with policy and processes, there would be a reduction in the volumes of logs from state forest containing RSOS. See Burgman Chapter 10.3. Sustainable Yield.

The Burgman report recommended:

  • Assuming that Sites of National Significance for rainforest harbour nationally significant rainforest values that are sensitive to planned human disturbance, the only way to protect these rainforest values over long time periods (of the order of centuries) would be to exclude harvesting operations from the sub-catchments in which the rainforest stands occur. See Chapter 10.4. This recommendation was reviewed by the CSIRO and adopted in the revised Code of Forest Practices.

  • The Forest Management Plan contain a 'detailed strategy plan' for rainforest conservation. (See Burgman Chapter 10.4) This recommendation was reviewed by the CSIRO and adopted in the revised Code of Forest Practices.

Forestry Victoria ignores Code of Forest Practices

The expert advice(Burgman) that was adopted in the revised 1996 Code of Forest Practices(code) is ignored by Forestry Victoria.

A briefing paper provided to the Otway Regional Forest Reference Group highlights the fact that in Forestry Victoria's view, code prescriptions to protect rainforest sites of national significance do not need to be followed. See Point 5 of briefing paper.

Hence Forestry Victoria ignore prescriptions within the code to prevent logging occurring within the Aire-Youngs Creek RSOS of national significance. See Code of Forest Practices.

As a consequence of ignoring the Code of Forest Practices, the West Regional Forest Agreement and recent review of Sustainable sawlog yields, calculated annual logging rates for ash logs on the assumption access to areas of national RSOS(Aire-Youngs Creek RSOS) will continue.


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