As a result of the independent SKM analysis, the conclusion that logging in the Otways substantially reduces catchment water yields is beyond doubt.
The OREN analysis comparing the economic value of water gained by not logging, and the economic value of woodchips and sawn timber clearly demonstrates that water is much more valuable to the community under any reasonable assumption.
It is important to note that the loss of water due to logging adversely affects the whole community, whereas the value of woodchips and timber benefits only a few private interests.
In addition to the water yield loss issue, there is strong evidence that logging practices in the Otways are having a major adverse impact on water quality. This is due particularly to the combination of heavy rainfall and the construction of logging roads that trigger land slides in steep areas.
Finally, lack of interest by the DNRE in the hydrology issue, combined with irresponsible logging practices, indicates a serious stewardship issue that must be addressed. In OREN's view, the Forestry Division of the DNRE is so biased in favour of logging, and is so closely aligned to the interests of woodchippers and sawmillers, that it has lost the right to be the manager of native forests in the Otways. An alternative, community-based management model, is now required.