Logging in the Dandenong Ranges

Beth Massey and Graeme Lorimer
With assistance from Yasmin Kelsal
8 May 2024

While there isn’t a long history of environmentalism on the part of settlers to Australia, the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1975 established the statutory basis for the protection, use and management of our national parks, including the 100 hectares of forests within the Dandenong Ranges National Park. That set in motion a series of other acts, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999.

There was a further commitment in 2018 from the state environment minister that “The Andrews Labor Government has no intention to log in National Parks”.

Sadly, those acts and commitments don’t seem to be holding up to pressure from Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMV) planned ‘disaster logging’ operations in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

In June 2021, many members will remember the severe winds that caused mass damage across the suburbs of the Dandenong Ranges and the Dandenong Ranges National Park, including many fallen trees and fallen logs. It’s those fallen trees and branches that FFMV is now removing.

An example of the logs planned for removal
Hayley Forster

Removal of those fallen trees and logs will involve heavy machinery which will cause further damage to an already vulnerable area. Machinery will leave the already established tracks, causing further damage to the understorey vegetation and fallen logs that the Tooarrana (Broad-toothed Rat), an endangered rodent that needs understorey vegetation and fallen logs to nest under. The logs also absorb water and support fungi and moss which would serve as a natural fire retardant.

Instead, the fallen logs will be removed to sell for commercial interests, while remaining limbs, branches, and root balls will be burnt within the park, again, causing further damage to an already fragile ecosystem.

Google Earth images showing the Camelia Track west of Doongalla Picnic Ground in red, and in orange, the much larger ‘storm salvage’ area.

Local resident Yasmin Kelsal, who undertakes bushfire hazard assessments, was on a bushwalk recently and noticed an alarming amount of logging underway in the vicinity of Doongala Picnic Ground. Many of the trees that are marked are large trees with active hollows that are important habitat trees.

Yasmin has spoken with Forest Fire Management Knox who confirmed they’re preparing the area for a burn this year. The trees in the direct area have been slashed to mitigate fire impact, but there are other trees that are being removed as ‘hazardous trees’, but there are other methods for mitigating these besides removal, and according to the CFA, most of the materials that fuel a bushfire are less than 10 cm in diameter, so tree trunks, fallen or not, don’t fit that definition.

If you’re as concerned as we are about the logging, we ask you to reach out to our members of parliament to ask them to put a stop to this.

Further information can be found on the Victorian National Parks Association website.

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