28 May 2020
IFA/AFG supports clarification as a result of VicForests Federal Court case
The peak organisation for forest scientists and land managers, the Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG) supports clarification of the Federal Court decision finding VicForests had not followed what appear to be conflicting Federal and State Government rules to protect endangered species.
IFA/AFG President, Bob Gordon said the organisation wholeheartedly supported the protection of all forest species, but the science used as a basis for the decision needed to be tested and the law needed to be clarified.
"Forest scientists who manage harvesting and regeneration operations do this job because they care passionately about the environment and sustainability. They work hard to minimise any impacts from harvesting through survey work, implementing additional protection measures and understanding the science,” Mr Gordon said.
“Our belief, supported by science, is that forests can be managed to provide multiple values which are not mutually exclusive. Conservation, carbon storage, fire management, traditional land management, recreation and harvesting can and need to co-exist.
“Forest scientists adopt a whole-of-landscape approach when managing forests, balancing these values to reach the optimum outcome. Unfortunately, our forest scientists who work in National Parks forest management are not resourced to carry out species surveys on an adequate basis – therefore it is difficult to get a landscape perspective. More funding is required to address this issue.
“In making their decision, the Court appears to have looked at the impacts within discrete coupes, rather than considering the broader landscape context.
“To understand the true impact of management actions, they must be re-looked at as part of a bigger-picture perspective which takes into account the entire landscape where they took place including the substantial conservation reserve system.
“There is extensive legislation that currently exists to regulate how harvesting operations are undertaken in native forests, and this needs to be clarified.”
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