Residents and activists defending old forests at Toolangi17012012
For the past two days, more than 30 people from the Central Highlands Action Group and local Toolangi and Healesville residents have been occupying a large logging coupe on Yellowdindi rd in Toolangi state forest.
Two 30m tree sits, which are suspended by ropes attached to two log-harvesters and two ‘bunnies’ with their arms locked through the tracks of a third machine have ensured that no clear-felling took place in the coupe on Monday January 16.
Much of the Toolangi forests were burnt in the fires of 2009. One Toolangi local said that “residents are concerned that following the Black Saturday fires in 2009 that clear-fell logging in the area will increase the risk of mega-fires due to the large amount of wood waste which is left behind in coupes. The resulting mono-species regeneration after logging operations is far more combustible than the mature age forests which are being removed. This is a recipe for further fire disasters”. They point to research by eminent forest ecologist Dr David Lindenmayer, which clearly indicates that clear-felling practices in the Central highlands notably increases fire risk and thus threatens the whole region.
Activists also point to other values of the forests: “These forests give us protection against climate change and provide habitat for native fauna which is such a feature of this area.”