The Supreme Court of Victoria found that a state-owned logging agency, VicForests, could not protect endangered gliders adequately while logging them in Gippsland and Central Victoria.
Two environment groups, Environment East Gippsland and King Lake Friends of the Forest, argued in the Supreme Court of Victoria that VicForests was legitimately obliged to recognize and conserve two imperiled possum species while logging them in state forests.
Two of these environment groups claimed that grater and yellow-bellied gliders required better conservation in Victoria’s East Gippsland and Central Highlands forest administrative regions.
Chief Justice Melinda Richards found that state-owned logging agency, VicForests steps to protect the imperiled gliders were “inadequate” and inconsistent.
Melinda said in her judgment, “At present, VicForests does not survey all of a coupe (a small area of the forest) before harvesting, and so it plans and undertakes timber harvesting operations without knowing where gliders live … and which parts of the coupe should be retained for their habitat.”
“The ecological evidence was clear — gliders that live in coupes that are harvested in accordance with VicForests’ current practices will probably die as a result of the harvesting operations.”
“There is a threat of serious and irreversible damage to greater gliders as a species, in that the species is at risk of extinction,” she continued.
The Supreme Court forbade VicForests to lodge Gliders in East Gippsland or Central highland s forests “unless it retains at least 60 percent of the basal area of eucalypts in the harvested area of the coupe.”
The reaction of the environmental groups
It is a tremendous victory for environmental groups and forest dwellers as well. Environment East Gippsland coordinator said that the Supreme Court had taken much-needed action after many gliders died in the 2019-20 bushfires. She counted the judgment a “huge win” for endangered gliders.
“They’ve been getting away with destroying endangered species,” Ms. Redwood said.
“We are just overjoyed today with this ruling. Now let’s hope that where there are refuges for our critically endangered animals … they are now properly protected into the future.”
Victorian Forest Alliance campaign coordinator Chris Schuringa said it was a second win for environmental groups after the Court ordered VicForests to survey and protect geebung tress( an imperiled plant species).
“It’s pretty damning that small community groups are having to hold this government-run, taxpayer-funded logging group to the law,” Schuringa said.