Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Leadbeater’s Possum need help TODAY

Leadbeater’s Possum need help TODAY

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Dear Friends,

148 proposed new logging coupes threaten the future of Leadbeater’s Possum... they need your help today!

To help stop these new coupes please email in a submission to the Timber Release Plan Amendments process by Thursday 8th April.

It is easy to do and it will make a difference!

Please take a few minutes right now to learn about the threat these new coupes pose to our forests and the future of Leadbeater’s Possum and how you can help stop them!

The Situation:

VicForests ( the State-owned company who logs our forests), has applied to DSE for an amendment of an additional 148 logging coupes to be added to the current Timber Release Plans – to further compensate them for timber resources lost in the 2009 bushfires and to meet their commercial commitments. They have already received 2 amendments for new coupes since the fires.

These news coupes concentrate on areas of unburnt forest around Marysville, Toolangi and Powelltown, areas that have already been ravaged in the past few decades by clear fell logging, but that also represent some of the only bits of connectivity left in unburnt forest since the February 2009 fires.

Since the devastating 2009 bushfires that destroyed vast areas of Leadbeater’s Possum habitat, extensive salvage logging and green logging has been taking place across their range. This logging has added a further devastating secondary impact to their habitat. Where the fires destroyed many key habitat elements in areas, much of these forests would have recovered and possibly become prime habitat for Leadbeater’s into the future (as happened after the 1939 fires), but the broad scale destruction from the salvage logging has essentially taken their habitat values to zero. ZERO for Leadbeater's Possum and other wildlife living in these forests.

Your tax dollars are supporting this destructive and poorly monitored industry that is trading essential ecosystem services and biodiversity assets that belong to all Victorians, to satisfy the commercial needs of Vicforests, who still posted a loss of $5million dollars last year even after our tax dollars bailed it out (unconfirmed rumours estimate $200 million dollars of our tax money was spent propping up this company last year).

There simply is not enough forest left for everything... for supporting our water catchments, for carbon storage, for carbon dioxide absorption, for nature based tourism industries, for supporting our biological diversity, and for clear felling vast areas for an industry that is 85% woodchip.

The past few decades of intensive clear felling and the large bushfires have changed these forests dramatically. While there are many claims that our timber industry is sustainable there is little evidence to support this, and very little understanding of the state of our forests after the 2009 bushfires. Which makes granting huge areas of additional green coupes very irresponsible and very short sighted indeed!

To survive Leadbeater’s Possum needs large areas of connected old forest to give them the most options for habitat available. Small isolated and fragmented islands of forest ringed with logging coupes is inadequate for their long term habitat needs ...but this is what they will end up with if these coupes go ahead.

There is plenty of legislation and policies in place that should stop these coupes in their own right... without the community having to step in but that does not seem to be happening. The “Sustainability Charter for Victoria’s State Forests” should be enough to stop them, the “Victorian Biodiversity White Paper” that hails the Central Highlands as a flagship area in need of good management for its significant biodiversity assets, should give them pause for thought for further planning, the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act should stop them in their tracks... but alas...it comes down to the community level again to show the problems with the management of our forests and to push for these policies to be properly implemented.

For too long the focus of our State Government has been on supporting the commercial interests of the timber industry and they have not given adequate resources to other departments within DSE to put them in a position to adequately understand and internally represent the needs of our threatened species, our essential ecosystem services, our climate change challenge... why??... my guess is that the industry has many lobby groups from the CFMEU (Union) to VAFI (Victorian Association of Forest Industries) to TCA (Timber Communities Australia)....all campaigning to keep the industry ploughing ahead... in an attempt to save a few hundred jobs over a future for our forests.

This is why we need to have our voice heard, because without it our Government is only hearing one side of the issue and making decisions in their favour.

All Victorians should have a say in how our forests are managed and right now is a critical time to have that say in favour of conservation, before it is too late!

Action Required:

· We must stop these coupes.
· DSE will grant these coupes if we, Victorians, do not given them enough reasons to stop.
· We must tell VicForests and DSE that we oppose these coupes.
· We must demand that conservation of our forests be prioritised before further destruction.

Attached is an outline of how to make a submission and what the key points of the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum submission include.

Please take a few minutes to make this submission your own... they will not count if they are all identical.

Chop and change it or start fresh and just get across to our government that you do not want any more coupes. Your submission can be brief,just a few lines or paragraphs, personal or scientific - they all count!

Please do not just forward this email...but additionally cc our info@leadbeaters.org.au email so we can record your submission.

Any submission will help, just get your opposition on record.

You don’t have to be a scientist or expert to make a submission, if you are Victorian then these are your State forests and you have a right to have a say in how they are used.

More details and quick links to the submission information and the Timber release plan maps are on the My Environment website link: http://www.myenvironment.net.au/index.php/me/Our-work/Forests/Forest-Issues/Have-your-say-Call-for-submissions-on-Logging-in-the-Central-Highlands

What else can you do....

Stop buying any Reflex products...

Reflex is made by Australian Paper (now owned by a Japanese company). They are a major recipient for timber coming out of our forests. Even trees from the Armstrong Water Catchment have been logged this year and sent to Maryvale pulp mill in Gippsland for processing into REFLEX.

Get Political...

Send your submission to your local politicians and help us make this an important election issue. Choose from relevant below.

The Hon. Gavin Jennings MP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change

Mr Michael Crutchfield MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Water & Environment

Ms Tammy Lobato MP, Member for Gembrook

Mr Ben Hardman MP, Member for Seymour

Greg Barber, MLC, Victorian Greens’ Spokesperson on Environment

Mary Wooldridge, MLA, Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

Support Us...

Continue to support our group... stay in touch, tell your friends, help us raise awareness and funds to continue our fight to save the Central Highlands forests. We are building an election campaign to help save our forests and we will need your help to get the issues through to our politicians to get change. Please stay in touch and offer help where you can. We are going to be doing some serious fundraising efforts and will need your help to make them successful....

I really believe that after the history of intensive logging, the 2009 bushfires and the clear inability of DSE or VicForests to manage our forest sustainably, this is our “Make it or Break it” year for our forests. If we don’t get some real commitments from our State Government this election year to manage our forests truly sustainably and responsibly the forest will be so devastated we will be left fighting for a few isolated islands of habitat for Leadbeater’s Possum and other threatened species and it will essentially be game over...

Please act today......we can’t do it without you.... have your voice heard.....it will make a difference.

Thank you! Sera

Sera Blair
Friends of Leadbeater's Possum Inc
PO Box 1175 : Healesville : VIC : 3777

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Adopt a nest box for them today! Check out our website for details.

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