Reports that South East Fiber Exporters has decided not to renew its contract with Vic forests, and will stop taking logs from East Gippsland by November, suggest the end is neigh for the wood-chipper. When there are plenty of cheaper and better chips to be found elsewhere, there isn’t much room in the international market for expensive, poor quality wood-chips.
In the interim, SEFE will be recouping what they can from its young plantations, mostly on the tablelands in Victoria and NSW.
Locally the NPWS and RFS have launched a secretive and very large burning program, starting in Biamanga NP. I spied a large number of NPWS utes and fire trucks near Cuttagee on Thursday morning, although the NPWS press release came the next day. Driving out to the burn it was apparent that most of the 7 kilometers had been prepared for burning. Since that time, it would seem most it has been burned, the shot above was taken in Bermaguee Nature Reserve some kilometres to the east of the first burn.
Form a modest beginning, according to Regional NPWS Manager Tim Shepard 205 ha, contrary figures on the RFS website indicate the area of the seemingly contiguous burn has swelled to over 1,000 ha.
As all of the burn area impacts on catchment ‘recharge’ functions, I contacted Mr Mike Saxon at the OE&H, asking whether these burns are considered to be consistent with the BMAD priority action statement, released earlier this year.
Mike responded with, “I have just quickly reviewed the PAS actions for BMAD and can’t see anything of particular relevance to hazard reduction programs in SE NSW. My group does not have any role in either the planning or approval of hazard reduction on Park. If you have any particular concerns I suggest you contact your local Parks office.”
I’ll get back to Mike, but the connection would seem to be an unsubstantiated belief that disturbance, in catchment recharge areas, does not or cannot have a negative impact on catchment discharge areas. Hence, Bell-miners remain misunderstood and the NSW government can claim that agricultural areas are suitable for koalas.