Logging contractors in Central and West Gippsland with virtually no work, a large mill in Orbost running out of log supply, while a new poll shows Victorians overwhelmingly support home grown timber for housing. Welcome to the paradox and crisis facing Victoria’s forest industry; the native forest sector, largely based in Gippsland, is at a virtual standstill due to legal action by environmentalists and decisions by the Supreme Court, as demand for native hardwood because of its beauty, strength and durability remains high.
The annual EPA environmental audit of Victoria's forest management practices has found that VicForests complied with 94 per cent of conditions mandated in the state's code of forestry practice. A total of 30 coupes across Gippsland and the Central Highlands were audited, with two of the Central Highlands coupes in Melbourne’s water catchments.
Climate change threatens our forests, but it is not necessarily an existential threat, according to a leading Australian scientist. “It’s not necessarily the case that we will be wiped out by wildfire. The existential threat of fire can be mitigated, but we must use ALL knowledge,” Mark Adams, Professor of Bioscience and Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology ... This included indigenous people’s use of fire as a management tool.
Huge interest in new non-energy products based on brown coal shows the big economic opportunity for the Latrobe Valley as the region transitions away from the power industry, according to an industry leader. The chief executive of Australian Carbon Innovation, Brian Davey, said ACI recently went to the market with expressions of interest, looking for projects in the carbon area using the Latrobe Valley's brown coal.
Thorpdale, the hamlet nestled in the Strzelecki Ranges famous for its potato growing, has become the beating heart of Gippsland journalism. Three journalists who grew up in Thorpdale, which has a population of 400-plus, are driving the local news received by thousands of Gippslanders from the Latrobe Valley to West Gippsland, and into East and South Gippsland.
The turmoil in the native forest industry is deepening, with Australian Paper turning to recycle more paper as its hardwood timber supply dwindles, while a sawmill in the state’s far east is due to close because it has no timber. Recent developments have underlined the crisis facing the Gippsland industry.